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V 0 L III. 










[Thf right of TramhUim is reaerverl.] 




Tab Spanish Militabt Nun 3 

The Last Days op Immanujbl Kant 99 

System op the Heavens as KeybaIiEd by Lord Bossb!s Tblbsoopbs 167 
Jo-VK OP Auo 200 

The Casujstkv op Roman Meals 246 


Modern Superstition. 



ikciion 1. — An^Extra Nuisance is introduced into Spain, 

On a night in the year 1592 (but which night is a secret 
liable to 365 answers), a Spanish *^8on of somelodif' (r. e., 
hidalgo), in the fortified town of St Sebastian, received 
the disagreeable intelligence from a nurse, that his wife 
had just presented him with a daughter. No present that 
the poor misjudging lady could possibly have made him 
was BO entirely useless towards any purpose of his. He 
had three daughters already; which happened to be more 
by 2-|-l, according to his reckoning, tha^ any reasonable 
allowance of daughters. A supernumerary son might have 
been stowed away; but supernumerary daughters were 
the very nuisance of Spain. He did, therefore, what in 
such cases every proud and lazy Spanish gentleman endea* 
voured to do. And surely I need not interrupt myself 
by any parenthesis to inform the base British reader, who 
makes it his glory to work hard, that the peculiar point of 
honour for the Spanish gentleman lay precisely in these 
two qualities of pride and laziness; f§r, if he were not 
proud, or had anything to do, what could you look for 


but ruin to tbe old Spanish aristocracy ? some of whom 
boasted that no member of their house (unless illegiti- 
mate, and a mere terrce filius) had done a day’s work since 
the flood. In the ark they admitteH that Noah kept 
them tightly to work; because, in facfj^hwe was work to 
do, that must be done by somebod j^^ ^uT once^i^chored 
upon Ararat, they insisted upon it m^ indignaOT^r that 
no ancestor of the Spanish noblesse had^ver worked, ex- 
cept through his slaves.* And with 'a view to new leases 
of idleness, through new generations of slaves, it was (as 
many people think) that Spain 'went so heartily into Jihe 
enterprises of Cortez and Pizarro. A sedentary body of 
Dons, without needing to uncross their thrice noble legs, 
v>’Ould thus levy eternal tributes of gold and silver upon 
eternal mines, through eternal successions of nations that 
hod been, and were to be, enslaved. Meantime, until 
these golden visions should be realised, aristoeratic davgh- 
tei'Sj who constituted the hereditary torment of the true 
Castilian Don, were to be disposed of in the good old way; 
viz., by quartering them for life upon nunneries; a plan 
which entailed no sacrifice whatever upon any of the par- 
ties concerned ; except, indeed, the little insignificant sacri- 
fice of happiness and natui^al birthrights to the daughters. 
But this little inevitable wreck, when placed in the coun- 
ter scale to the magnificent purchase of eternal idleness 
for an aristocracy so ancient, was surely entitled to little 
attention amongst philosophers. Daughters must perish 
by generations, and ought to be proud of perishing, in 
order that their papas, being hidalgos, might luxuriate in 
laziness. Accordingly, on this system, our hidalgo of St 
Sebastian wrapped the new little daughter, odious to his 
paternal eyes, in pocket-handkerchief, and then wrap- 
ping up his own throat with a gr^at deal more care, ofl* he 


bolted to the neighbouring convent of St Sebastian, mean- 
ing by that term not merely a convent of that city, but 
also (amongst several convents) the one dedicated to that 
saint. It is well that in this quarrelsome world w^e quar- 
rel furiously about tastes; since, agreeing too closely about 
the objects to be liked, we should agree too closely about 
the objects to be appropriated; wdiich would breed much 
more fighting than is bred by disagreeing. That little 
human tadpole, which the old toad of a futlicr would not 
suffer to stay ten minuieg in his house, proved as welcome 
at the nunnery of St Sebastian as she was odious at home. 
The lady superior of the convent was aunt, by the mother’s 
side, to the new-born stranger. She therefore kissed and 
blessed the little lady. The poor nuns, wlio were never 
to have any babies of their own, and were languishing for 
some amusement, perfectly doated on this prospect of a 
wee pet. The superior thanked the hidalgo for his very 
splendid present. The nuns thanked him each and all; 
until the old crocodile actually began to whimper senti- 
mentally at what he now perceived to be excess of muni- 
ficence in himself. Munificence, indeed, he rcmarkeii was 
his foible, next after parental tenderness^ 

2. — Wait a Hidalgo! 

What a luxury it is, sometimes, to a c^nic that there go 
two words to a bargain. In the convent of St Sebastian 
all >vas gratitude; gratitude (as aforesaid) to the hidalgo 
fiom all the convent for his present, until at last the 
hidalgo began to express gratitude to them for their gra- 
titude to him. Then came a rolling fire of thanks to St 
Sebastian ; from the superior, for sending a future saint; 
from the nuns, for sending such a love of a plaything; 
and, finally, from papa, for sending such subs^ntial board 



and well-bolted lodgings: “From which,’* said the mali- 
cious old fellow, “ iny pussy will never find her way out to 
a thorny and dangerous world.” Won’t she ? I suspect, 
son of somebody, that the next time you see “pussy,” 
which may happen to be also the last, will not be in a 
convent of any kind. At present, whilst. this general ren- 
dering of thanks was going on, one person only took no 
part in them. That person was “pussy,” whose little 
figure lay quietly stretched out in the arms of a smiling 
young nun, with eyes nearly shut, yet peering a little at 
the candles. Pussy said nothing. It’s of no great use to 
say much, when all the world is against you. But if St 
Sebastian had enabled her to speak out the whole truth, 
pussy would have said: “So, Mr Hidalgo, you have been 
engaging lodgings for me; lodgings for life. Wait a little. 
We’ll try that question, when my claws are grown a little 

3 . — Sifmptoms of MxUiny, 

Disappointment, therefore, was gathering ahead. But 
for the present there was nothing of the kind. That noble 
old Crocodile, papa, was not in the least disappointed as 
regarded his exjTCCtation of having no anxiety to waste, 
and no money to pay, on account of his youngest daughter. 
He insisted on his right to forget her; and in a week had 
forgotten her, never to think of her again but once. The 
lady superior, as regarded her demands, was equally con- 
tent, and through a course of several years; for, as often 
as she asked pussy if she would ue a saint, pussy replie<l 
that she would, if saints were allowed plenty of sweet- 
iqdieats. But least of all were the nuns disappointed. 
Everything that t^ey had fancied possible in a human 
plaything fell short of what p'lssy realised in racketing, 
racing, and eternal plots against the peace of the elder 



nuns. No fox ever kept a hen-roost in such alarm as 
* pussy kept the dormitory of the senior sisters; whilst the 
younger ladies were run off their legs by the eternal wiles, 
and had their gravity discomposed, even in chapel, by the 
eternal antics, of this privileged little kitten. 

The kitten had long ago received a baptismal name, 
which was Kitty, or Kate; and that in Spanish is Catalina. 
It was a good name, as it recalled her original name of 
pussy.” And, by the way, she had also an ancient and 
honourable surname — viz., De Erausa — which is to this day 
a name rooted in Biscay. Her father, the hidalgo, was a 
military officer in the Spanish service, and had little care 
whether his kitten should turn out a wolf or a lamb, hav- 
ing made over the fee simple of his own interest in the 
little Kate to St Sebastian, ‘‘ to have and to hold,” so long 
as Kate should keep her hold of this present life. Kate 
had no apparent intention to let slip that hold; for she 
was bbomiug as a rose-bush in June, tall and strong 
as a young cedar. Yet, notwithstanding this robust 
health, which forbade one to think of separation from St 
Sebastian by death, and notwithstanding the strength of 
the convent walls, which forbade one ^ to think of any 
other separation, the time was drawing near wlicn St 
Sebastian’s lease in Kate must, in legal phrase, “ deter- 
mine,” and any chateaux en E^pagne that the saint might 
have built on the cloistral fidelity of his pet Catalina, must 
suddenly give way in one hour, like many other vanities 
in our own days of Spanish growth ; such as Spanish con- 
stitutions and charters, Spanish financial reforms, Spanish 
bonds, and other little varieties of Spanish ostentatious 

4 . — The Si/mptoma Thicken^ 

After reaching her tenth year, Catalina becajne thought- 



ful and not very docile. At times she was even head* 
strong and turbulent, so that the gentle sisterhood of St ' 
Sebastian, who had no other pet or plaything in the world, 
began to weep in secret, fearing that they might have 
been rearing by mistake some future tigress; for as to 
infancy, that^ you know, is playful and innocent even in 
the cubs of a tigress. But ihtve the ladies were going too 
far. Catalina was impetuous and aspiring, violent some- 
times, headstrong and haughty towards those who pre- 
sumed upon her youth, absolutely rebellious against all 
open harshness, but still generous and most forgiving, 
disdainful of petty arts, and emphatically a noble girl. 
She was gentle, if people would let her be so. But wo to 
those- that took liberties with htr! A female servant of 
the convent, in some authority, one day, in passing up the 
aisle to matins, wilfully gave Kate a push; and, in return, 
Kate, who never left her debts in arrear, gave the servant 
for a keepsake such a look, as that servant carried with 
her in fearful remembrance to her grave. It seemed as 
if Kate had tropic blood in her veins, that continually 
called her away to the tropics. It was all the fault of that 
“ blue rejoicing s]|y,” of those purple Biscayan mountains, 
of that glad tumultuous ocean, which she beheld daily 
from the nunnery gardens. Or, if only half of it was their 
fault, the other half lay in those golden tales, streaming 
upwards even into the sanctuaries of convents, like morn- 
ing mists touched by earliest sunlight, of kingdoms over- 
shadowing a new world, which h d been founded by lier 
kinsmen with the simple aid of a horse and a lance. The 
reader is to remember that this is no romance, or. at least 
no fiction, that he is reading; and it is propep to remind 
the reader of real romances in Ariosto or our own Spenser, 
that such martial ladies as the MarJUa or Bradamant of the 



first, and Britomart of the other^were really not the improba- 
bilities that modern society imagines. Many a stout man, 
as you will soon see, found that Kate, with a sabre in hand, 
and well mounted, was no romance at all, but far too serious 
a fact. 

6.— Good-nighty St Sebastian ! 

The day is come — the evening is come — when our poor 
Kate, that had for fifteen years been so tenderly rocked 
in the arms of St Sebastian and his daughters, and that 
henceforth shall hardly find a breathing space between 
eternal storms, must see her peaceful cell, must see the 
holy chapel, for the last time. It was at vespers, it was 
during the chanting of the vesper service, th^ she finally 
read the secret signal for her departure, which long she 
had been looking for. It happened that her aunt, the 
Lady Principal, had forgotten her breviary. As this was 
in a private ’scrutoire, the prudent lady did not choose to 
send a servant for it, but gave the key to her niece. The 
niece, on opening the ’scrutoire, saw, with that rapidity of 
eye-glance for the one thing needed in great emergencies 
which ever attended her through life, that now was the 
rtioment, now had the clock struck, for^an opportunity 
which, if neglected, might never return. There lay the 
total keys, in one massive trousseav, of that monastic for- 
tress, impregnable even to armies from without. St Se- 
bastian! do you see what your pet is going to do? And 
do it she will, as sure as your name is St Sebastian. Kate 
went back to her aunt with the breviary and the key; 
but taking good care to leave that awful door, on whose 
hinge revolved her whole future life, unlocked. Deliver- 
ing the two articles to the superior, she complained of 
headache — (ah, Kate! what did you know of headaches?) 
— upon which her aunt, kissing her forehead, dismissed 



her to bed. Now, then, thiough three-fourths of an hour 
Kate will have free elbow-room for unanchoring her boat, 
for unshipping her oars, and for pulling ahead right out 
of St Sebastian’s cove into the main ocean of life. 

Catalina, the reader is to understand, docs not belong 
to the class of persons in whom pre-eminently I j^rofess 
an interest. But everywhere one loves energy and in- 
domitable courage. And always what is best in its kind 
one admires, even where the kind may happen to be not 
specially attractive. Kate’s advantages for her role in 
this life lay in four things: viz., in a well-built person, 
and a particularly strong wrist; 2d, in a heart that no- 
thing could ^ppal; 3d, in a sagacious head, never drawn 
aside from the hoc age (from the instant question of the 
hour) by any weaEneii" of imagination; 4th, in a tolerably 
thick skin — not literally, for she was fair and blooming, 
and eminently handsome, having such a skin, in fact, as 
became a young woman of family in northernmost Spain; 
but her sensibilities were obtuse as regarded some modes of 
delicacy, some modes of equity, some modes of the world’s 
opinion, and all modes whatever of personal hardship. 
Lay a stress on^that word some — for, as to delicacy, she 
never lost sight of that kind which peculiarly concerns 
her sex. Long afterwards she told the Pope himself, when 
confessing without disguise to the paternal old man her 
sad and infinite wanderings (and I feel convinced of her 
veracity), that in this respect — viz,, all which concerned 
her sexual honour — even then he was as pure as a child. 
And, as to equity, it was only that she substituted the 
rude natural equity of camps for the specious and con- 
ventional equity of courts and towns. 1 must add, though 
at the cost of interrupting the story by two or three more 
sentences, that Catalina had also a fifth advantage, .which 



sounds humbly, but is really of use in a world, where 
even to fold and seal a letter adroitly is not the lowest of 
accomplishments. She was a handy girl. She could turn 
her hand to anything; of which I will give you two me- 
morable instances. Was there ever a girl in this world 
but herself that cheated and snapped her fingers at that 
awful Inquisition, which brooded over the convents of 
Spain ? that did this without collusion from outside; trust- 
ing to nobody, but to herself, and what beside? to one 
needle, two skeins of thread, and a bad pair of scissors ! 
For that the scissors were bad, though Kate docs not say 
so in her memoirs, I know by an d •priori argument; viz., 
because all scissors were bad in the year 1607. Now, say 
all decent logicians, from a hniversal to a particular valet 
consequentkij the right of inference is good. All scissors 
were bad, ergo some scissors were bad. The second in- 
stance of her liandiuess will surprise you even raoi'e: — 
She once stood upon a scaffold, under sentence of death 
(but, understand, on the evidence of false witnesses). Jack 
Ketch — or, as the present generation calls him, " ilfr (7«/- 
erq/?,” or ‘‘ — Calcraft, Esq*' — was absolutely tying the 
knot under her ear, and the shameful nyn of ropes fum- 
bled so deplorably, that Kate (who by much nautical expe- 
rience had learned ^roni another sort of “Jack” how a 
knot should be tied in this world) lost all patience with 
the contemptible artist, told him she was ashamed of him, 
took the rope out of his hand, and tied the knot irre- 
jrroachably herself. The crowd saluted her with a festal 
roll, long and loud, of vivas; and this word viva being a 
word of good augury — but stop; let me not anticipate. 

From this sketch of Catalina’s character, the reader is 
prepared to understand the decisiop of her present pro- 
ceeding. She had no time to lose; the twilight, it is true, 



favoured her; but in any season twilight is as short-lived 
as a farthing rushlight; and she must get under hiding 
before pursuit commenced. Consequently she lost not 
one of her forty-five minutes in picking and choosing. 
No shilhj-shally in Kate. She saw with the eyeball of an 
eagle what lyas indispensable. Some little money per- 
haps, in the first place, to pay the first toll-bar of life: so, 
out of four shillings in Aunty’s purse, or what amounted 
to that English sum in various Spanish coins, she took 
one. You can’t say that was exorbitant. Which of us 
wouldn’t subscribe a shilling for poor Kate, to put into 
the first trouser-pockets that ever ^he will wear? I re- 
member even ^et, as a personal experience, that when 
first arrayed, at four years old, in nankeen trousers, though 
still so far retaining hermaphrodite relations of dress as 
to wear a petticoat above my trousers, all my female 
friends (because they pitied me, as one that had suflered 
from years of ague) filled my pockets with half-crowns, 
of which I can render no account at this day. But what 
were my poor pretensions by the side of Kate’s? Kate 
was a fine blooming girl of fifteen, with no touch of ague; 
and, before the next sun rises, Kate shall draw on her 
first trousers, made by her own hand; and, that she may 
do so, of all the valuables in aunty’s* repository she takes 
nothing beside, first (for I detest your lidiculous and most 
pedantic neologism of firstly) — first, the shilling, for which 
I have already given a receipt; secondly, two skeins of 
suitable thread; thirdly, one tout needle, and (as I told 
you before, if you would please to remember things) one 
bad pair of scissors. Now she was ready; ready to cast 
St Sebastian’s towing-rope; ready to cut and run for 
port anywhere, which por<^ (according to a smart Ame- 
rican adage) is to be looked for “ at the back of beyond.” 



The finishing touch of her preparations was to pick out 
the proper keys: even there she showed the same discre- 
tion. She did no gratuitous mischief. She did not tako 
the wine-cellar key,. which would have irritated the good 
father confessbrj she did not take the key of the closet 
which held the peppermint-water and other cordials, for 
that would have distressed the elderly nuns. She took 
those keys only that belonged to her, if ever keys did; for 
they were the keys that locked her out from her natural 
birthright of liberty. Very different views are taken by 
different parties of this particular act now meditated by 
Kate. The Court of Romo treats it as the immediate 
suggestion of Ilell, and open to no forgiveness. Another 
Court, far loftier, ampler, and of larger authority — viz., 
the Court which holds its dreadful tribunal in the human 
heart and conscience — pronounces this act an inalienable 
privilege of man, and the mere reassertion of a birthright 
that can neither be bought nor sold. 

6. — Kate's First Bivouac and First March, 

Right or wrong, however, in Romish casuistry, Kate 
was resolved to let herself out; and did ; for fear any 
man should creep in while vespers lasted, and steal the 
kitchen grate, she locked her old friends in. Then she 
sought a shelter. The air was moderately warm. She 
hurried into a chestnut wood, and upon withered leaves, 
which furnished to Kate her very first bivouac in a long 
succession of such experiences, she slept till earliest dawn. 
Spanish diet and youth leave the digestion undisordered, 
and the slumbers light. When the lark rose, up rose 
Catalina. No time to lose; for she was still in the dress 
of a nun; and therefore, by a law tog flagrantly notorious, 
liable to the peremptory clmllenge and arrest of any man 



— the very meanest or poorest — in all Spain. With her 
armed finger (ay, by the way, I forgot the thimble; but 
Kate did not)^ she set to work- upon her amply-em- 
broidered petticoat. She turned it wrong side out; and 
with the magic that only female hands possess, she had 
soon sketched and finished a dashing pair of Wellington 
trousers. All other changes were made according to the 
materials she possessed, and quite sufficiently to disguise 
the two main perils — her sex, and her monastic dedica- 
tion. What was she to do next 1 Speaking of Wellington 
trousers anywhere in the north of Spain would remind 
but could hardly remind //er, of Vittoria, where she dimly 
had heard of some maternal relative. To Vittoria, there- 
fore, she bent her course; and, like the Duke of Welling- 
ton, but arriving more than two centuries earlier, she 
gained a gre£^t victory at that place. She had made a two 
days* march, with no provisions but wild berries; she de- 
pended, for ail} thing better, os light-heartedly as the duke, 
upon attacking, sword in hand, storming her dear friend’s 
iutrcnchmcnts, and effecting a lodgment in his breakfast- 
room, should he happen to possess one. This amiable 
relative proved to be an elderly man, who had but one 
foible, or perhaps it was a virtue, which had by continual 
development overshadowed his whole nature — it was pe- 
dantry. On that liint Catalina spoke: she knew by heart, 
from the services of the convent, a good number of Latin 
phrases. Latin ! — Oh, but that was charming; and in one 
so young ! The grave Don owned the soft impeachment; 
relented at once, and clasped the hopeful young gentleman 
in the Wellington trousers to his uncular and rather angu- 
lar breast. In this house the yarn of life was of a mingled 
qt^lfity. The tablfe was good, but that was exactly what 
Kate cared least about. On the other hand, the amuse- 



ment was of tbe worst kind. It consisted chiefly in con- 
jugating Latin verbs, especially such as were obstinately 
irregular. To show him a withered frost-bitten verb; that 
wanted its preterite, wanted its gerunds^ wanted its su- 
pines, wanted, in fact, everything in this world, fruits or 
blossoms^ that make a verb desirable, was to earn the 
Don’s gratitude for life. All day long he was, as you may 
say, marching and countermarching his favourite brigades 
of verbs — verbs frequentative, verbs inceptive, verbs desi- 
derative — horse, foot, and artillery; changing front, ad- 
vancing from the rear, throwing out skirmishing parties, 
until Kate, not given to faint, must have thought of such 
a resource, as once in her life she had thought so season- 
ably of a vesper headache. This was really worse than St 
Sebastian’s. It reminds one of a French gaiety in Thie- 
bault, who describes a rustic party, under equal despair, as 
employing themselves in conjugating the verb s'enmyev — 
Je m'ennuie, tu {ennuieSy il summit; nous nous ennuyons, &c.; 
thence to the imperfeft — Je m'ennuyoiSj tu i'ennuyois, <kc.; 
thence to the imperative — QiCit s'ennuye^ &c.; and so on, 
through the whole dolorous conjugation. Now, you know, 
when the time comes that nous nous ennuyonSy the best 
course is, to part. Kate saw that; anef she walked off 
from the Don’s (of whose amorous passion tor defective 
verbs one would have wished to know the catastrophe), 
taking from his mantelpiece rather more silver than she 
had levied on her aunt. But then, observe, the Don also 
was a relative; and really he owed her a small cheque on 
his banker for turning out on his field-days. A man, if 
he is a kinsman, has no unlimited privilege of boring one: 
an uncle lias a qualified right to bore his nephews, even 
when they happen to be nieces; but iJh has no right to 
bore either nephew or niece gratis. 



7»‘^EcUe at Courty where she Freecrihee Phlebotomy y and is 

Fitun Vittoria, Kate was guided by a carrier to Valla- 
dolid. Luckily) as it seemed at first, but, in fact, it made 
little difference in the end, here, at Valladolid, were as- 
sembled the King and his Court. Consequently, there 
was plenty of regiments, and plenty of regimental bands. 
Attracted by one of these, Catalina was quietly listenirfg 
to the music, when some street ruffians, in derision of the 
gay colours and the particular form of her forest-made 
costume (rascals I what sort of trousers would they have 
made with no better scissors?), began to pelt her with 
stones. Ah, my friends of the genus hlacJcguardy you little 
know who it is that you are selecting for experiments.^ 
This is the one creature of fifteen years old in all Spain, be 
the other male or female, whom nature, and temper, and 
provocation have qualified for taking the conceit out of 
you. This she very soon did, laying open with sharp 
stones more heads than either ond^or two, and letting out 
rather too little than too much of bad Valladolid blood. 
But mark the constant villany of this world. Certain 
Alguazils — very like some other Alguazils that I know of 
nearer home— having stood by quietly to see the friendless 
stranger insulted and assaulted, now felt it their duty to 
apprehend the poor nun for her most natural retaliation: 
and had there been such a thing as a treadmill in Valla- 
dolid, Kate was booked for a place on it without further 
inquiry. Luckily, injustice does not always prosper. A 
gallant young eavalier, who had witnessed from his win- 
dows the whole affair, had seen the provocation, and ad- 
mired Catalma's behaviour — equally patient at first, and 
bold at last-3iast‘ened into the street, pursued the officers, 
forced them to release their prisoner, upon stating the 



circumstances of the case^ and instantly offered to Catalina 
a situation amongst his retinue. He was a man of birth 
and fortune; and the place offered, that of an honorary 
page, not being at all degrading even to a daughter of 
somebody,” was cheerfully accepted. 

8 . — Too Good to hast/ 

Here Catalina spent a happy quarter of a year 1 She 
was now splendidly dressed in dark blue velvet, by a tailor 
that did not work within the gloom of a chestnut forest. 
She and the young cavalier, Don Francisco de Cardenas, 
were mutually pleased, and had mutual confidence. All 
went well — until one evening (but, luckily, not before the 
sun had been set so long as to make all things indistinct), 
who should march into the antechamber of the cavalier 
but that sublime of crocodiles, papa, whom we lost sight 
of fifteen years ago, and shall never see again after this 
night. He had his crocodile tears all ready for use, in 
working order, like a go^d industrious fire-engine. Whom 
will he speak to first in this lordly mansion ? It was ab- 
solutely to Catalina herself that he advanced; whom, for 
many reasons, he could not be supposed ^to recognise — 
lapse of years, male attire, twilight, were all against him. 
Still, she might have the family countenance; and Kate 
fancied (but it must have been a fancy) that he looked 
with a suspicious scrutiny into her face, as he inquired for 
the young Don. To avert her own face, to announce him 
to Don Francisco, to wish papa on the shores of that an- 
cient river,^the Nil^ furnished but one moment’s work to 
the active Catalina. She lingered, however, as her place 
entitled her to do, at the door of the audience^hamber. 
She guessed already,* but in a moment she rmrd from 
papa’s lips, what was the nature of his errand. His 
A 2 



daughter Catherine, he informed the Don, had eloped 
from the convent of St Sebastian, a place rich in delight, 
radiant with festal pleasure, overflowing with luxury. 
Then he laid open the unparalleled ingratitude of such a 
step. Oh, the unseen treasure that had been spent upon 
that girl 1 Oh, the untold sums of inoney, the unknown 
amounts of cash, that had been sunk in that unhappy 
speculation ! The nights of sleeplessness suffered during 
her infancy ! The fifteen years of solicitude thrown away 
in schemes for her improvement ! It would have moved 
the heart of a stone. The hidalgo wept copiously at his 
own pathos. And to such a height of grandeur had he 
carried his Spanish sense of the sublime, that he disdained 
to mention — ^yes ! positively not even in a parenthesis 
would he condescend to notice — that pocket-handkerchief 
which he had left at St Sebastian’s fifteen years ago, by 
way of envelope for ‘‘pussy,” and which, to the best of 
pussy’s knowlc'dge, was the one sole memorandum of papa 
ever heard of at St Sebastian’s. • Pussy, however, saw no 
use in revising and correcting the text of papa’s remem- 
brances. She showed her usual prudence, and her usual 
incomparable decision. It did not appear, as yet, that 
she would be reclaimed (or was at all suspected for the 
fugitive) by her father, or by Don Cardenas. For it is 
an instance of that singular fatality which pursued Cata- 
lina through life, that, to her own astonishment (as she 
now collected from her father’s conference), nobody had 
traced her to Valladolid, nor had her father’s visit any 
connection with any suspicious traveler in that direction. 
The case was quite different. StrangSy enough, her street 
row had thrown her, by the purest of accidents, int<5 the 
one sole househ^d in all Spain thfft had an^ official con- 
nection with St Sebastian’s. That convent had been 



founded by the young cavalier’s family; and, according to 
the usage of Spain, the young man (as present representa- 
tive of his house) was the responsible protector and official 
visiter of the establishment. Tt was not to the Don as 
harbourer of his daughter, but to the Don as hereditary 
patron of the convent, that the hidalgo was appealing. 
This being so, Kate might have staid safely some time 
longer. Yet, again, that would but have multiplied the 
clues for tracing her; and, finally, she would too probably 
have been discovered; after which, with all his youthful 
generosity, the poor Don could not have protected her. 
Too terrific was the vengeance that awaited an abettor of 
any fugitive nun; but, above all, if such a crime were per- 
petrated by an official mandatory of the church. Yet, 
again, so far it was the more hazardous course to abscond, 
that it almost revealed her to the young Don as the miss- 
ing daughter. Still, if it really had that effect, nothing 
at present obliged him to pursue her, as might have been 
the case a few weeks later. Kate argued (I daresay) 
rightly, as she always did. Her prudence whispered eter- 
nally, that safety there was none for her, until she had 
laid the Atlantic between herself and St Sebastian’s. Life 
was to be for her a Bay of Biscay; ritd it was odds but 
she had first embarked upon this billowy life from the 
litoral Bay of Biscay. Chance ordered otherwise. Or, as 
a Frenchman says, with eloquent ingenuity, in connection 
with this very story, "Chance is but the pseudanyme of 
God for those particular cases which he does not choose 
to subscribe openly with his own sign manual.” She 
crept up-stairs to her bedroom. Simple are the travelling 
preparations of those that, possessing nothing, have no 
imperials to pack. She had Juvenal’s® qualification for 
carolling gaily through a forest full of robbers; for she 



Lad nothing to lose but a change of linen, that rode easily 
enough under her left arm, leaving the right free for 
answering the questions of impertinent customers. As 
she crept down-stairs, she heard the crocodile still weep- 
ing forth liis sorrows to the pensive ear of twilight, and 
to the sympathetic Don Francisco. Ah ! what a beautiful 
idea occurs to me at this point f Once, on the hustings at 
Liverpool, I saw a mob orator, whose brawling mouth, 
open to its widest expansion, suddenly some larking sailor, 
by the most dexterous of shots, plugged up with a paving- 
stone. Here, now, at Valladolid was another mouth that 
equally required plugging. What a pity, then, that some 
gay brother page of Kate’s had not been there to turn 
aside into the room, armed with a roasted potato, and, 
taking a sportsman’s aim, to have lodged it in the cro- 
codile’s abominable mouth! Yet, what an anachronism! 
There vsere no roasted potatoes in Spain at that date (1608), 
which can be apodeictically proved, because in Spain there 
were no potatoes at all, and very few in England. But 
anger drives a man to say anything. 

^9 . — How to Choose Lodgings, 

Catalina had see'h her last of friends and enemies in 
Valladolid. Short was her time there; but she had im- 
proved it so far as to make a few of both. There was an 
eye or two in Valladolid that would have glared with 
malice upon her, had she been seen by all eyes in that 
city, as she tripped through the streets in the dusk; and 
eyes there were that would have softened into tears, had 
they seen the desolate condition of the child, or in vision 
had seen the struggles that were before her. But what’s 
the use of wasting tears upon our Kate? Wait till to- 
morrow morning at sunrise, at- d see if she is particularly 



ia need of pifcy. What, now, should a young lady do — I 
propose it as a subject for a prize essay — that finds her- 
self in Valladolid at nightfall, haying no letters, of intro- 
duction, and not aware of any reason, great or small, for 
preferring this or that street in general, except so far as 
she knows of some reason for avoiding one street in par- 
ticular? The great problem I have stated, Kate investi- 
gated as she went along; and she solved it with the accu- 
racy which she ever applied to practical exigencies. Her 
conclusion was — that the best door to knock at, in such a 
case, was the door where there was no need to knock at 
all, as being deliberately left open to all comers. For she 
argued, that within such a door there would be nothing to 
steal, so that, at least, you could not bo mistaken in the 
dark for a thief. Then, as to stealing from /ter, they might 
do that if they could. 

Upon these principles, which hostile critics will in vain 
endeavour to undermine, she laid her hand upon whalj 
seemed a rude stable-door. Such it proved; and the stable 
was not absolutely empty; for there was a cart inside — 
a four-wheeled cart. True, there was so; but you couldn’t 
take that away in your pocket; and there were also five 
loads t)f straw — but then of those a laSy could take no 
more than her reticule would carry, which perhaps was 
allowed by the courtesy of Spain. So Kate was right as 
to the difficulty of being challenged for a thief. Closing 
the door as gently as she had opened it, she dropped her 
person, handsomely dressed as she was, upon the nearest 
heap of straw. Some ten feet further were lying two 
muleteers, honest and happy enough, as compared ' with 
the lords of the bedchamber then in Valladolic}: but still 
gross men, carnally deaf from eating^ garlic and onions, \ 
and other horrible substances. Accordingly, they never 



heard her; nor were aware, until dawn, that such a bloom- 
ing person existed. But she was aware of them, and of 
their conversation. In the intervals of their sleep, they 
talked much of an expedition to America, on the point of 
sailing under Don- Ferdinand de Cordova. It was to sail 
from some Andalusian port. That was the thing for ^er. 
At daylight she woke, and jumped up, needing little more 
toilet than the birds that already were singing in the gar- 
dens, or than the two muleteers, who, good, honest fellows, 
saluted the handsome boy kindly — thinking no ill at his 
making free with Mefr straw, though no leave had been asked. 

With these philo-garlic men Kate took her departure. 
The morning was divine: and, leaving Valladolid with the 
transports that befitted such a golden dawn, feeling also 
already, in the very obscurity of her exit, the pledge of 
her final escape, she cared no longer for the crocodile, nor 
for St Sebastian, nor (in the way of fear) for the protector 
of St Sebastian, though of /lim she thought with some ten- 
derness; so deep is the remembrance of kindness mixed 
with justice. Andalusia she reached rather slowly; many 
weeks the journey cost her; but, after all, what are weeks ? 
She reached Seville many months before she was sixteen 
years old, and quite in time for the expedition. 

10.~ An Ugly Dilemma^ where Right and Wrong is reduced to 
a Question of Right or Left, 

Ugly indeed is that dilemma where shipwreck and the 
sea are on one side of you, and famine on the other; or, if 
a chance of escape is offered, appart-itly it depends upon 
taking the right road where there is no guide-post. 

St Lucar being the port of rendezvous for the Peruvian 
expedition, thithei^she went. All comers were welcome on 
board the fleet; much more a fine young fellow like Kate. 



She was at onde eogagcd as a mate; and her ship, in par- 
ticular, after doubling Cape Horn without loss, made the 
coast of Peru. Faita was the port of her destination. 
Very near to this port they were, when a storm threw 
them upon a coral reef. There was little hope of the 
ship from the first, for she was unmanageable, and was 
not expected to hold together for twenty-four hours. In 
this condition, with death before their faces, mark what 
Kate did; and please to remember it for her benefit, when 
she does any other little thing that angers you. The 
crew lowered the long-boat. Vainly the captain protested 
against this disloyal desertion of a king’s ship, which might 
yet, perhaps, be run on shore, so as to save the stores. All 
the crew, to a man, deserted the captain. You may say 
that literally; for the single exception was not a man, being 
our bold-hearted Kate. She was the only sailor that refused 
to leave her captain, or the King of Spain’s ship. . The rest 
pulled away for the shore, and with fair hopes of reaching it. 
But one half-hour told another tale; jus*^ about that time 
came a broad sheet of lightning, which, through the dark- 
ness of evening, revealed the boat in the very act of mount- 
ing like a horse upon an inner reef, instantly filling, and 
throwing out the crew, every man of \^^iom disappeared 
amongst the breakers. The night which succeeded was 
gloomy for both the representatives of his Catholic Majesty. * 
It cannot be denied by the underwriters at Lloyd’s, that 
the muleteer’s stable at Valladolid was worth twenty such 
ships, though the stable was not insured against fire, and 
the ship was insured against the sea and the wind by some 
fellow that thought very little of his engagements. But 
what’s the use of sitting down to cry? That was never 
any trick of Catalina’s. By daybrealP, she was at work 
with an axe in her hand. 1 knew it, before ever I came 


to this place in her memoirs. I felt^ as su^e as if I had 
read it, that when day broke we should find Kate at 
work. Thimble or axe, trousers or raft, all one to her. 

The captain, though true to his duty, faithful to his 
king, and on his king’s account even hopeful, seems from 
the first to have desponded on hi® own. He gave no help 
towards the raft. Signs were speaking, however, pretty 
loudly that he must do something; for notice to quit was 
now served pretty liberally. Kate’s raft was ready; and 
she encouraged the captain to think that it would give 
both of them something to hold by in swimming, if not 
even carry double. At this moment, when all was waiting 
for a start, and the ship herself was waiting only for a 
final lurch to say Oood-hj to the King of Spain, Kate went 
and did a thing which some erring people will misconstrue. 
She knew of a box laden with gold coins, reputed to be 
the King, of Spain’s, and meant for contingencies on the 
voyage out. This she smashed open with her axe, and 
took out a sum in ducats and pistoles equal to one hundred 
guineas English; which, having well secured in a pillc%- 
case, she then lashed firmly to the raft. Now this, you 
know, though not ** flotsam” because it would not float, was 
certainly, by maritime law, **je{som.” It would bo the 
idlest of scruples to fancy that the sea or a shark had a 
better right to it than a philosopher, or a splendid girl 
wdio showed herself capable of writing a very fair 8vo, to 
say nothing of her decapitating in battle, as you will find, 
more than one of the king’s enemies, and recovering the 
king’s banner. No sane moralist would hesitate to do the 
same thing under the same circumstances, even on board 
an English vessel, and though the First Lord of the Admi- 
ralty, and the Seci'etary, that pokes his nose into every- 
thing nautical, should be looking on. The raft was now 


25 ^ 

thrown into sea- Kate jumped after it, and then en^ 
treated the captain to follow her. He attempted it; but, 
wanting her youthful agility, he sftuck his head against a 
spar, and sank like lead, giving notice below that his ship 
was coming after him as fast as she could make ready. 
Kate’s luck was bettor: she mounted the raft, and by the 
rising tide was gradually washed ashore, but so exhausted, 
as to have lost all recollection. She lay for hours, until 
the warmth of the sun revived her. On sitting up, she saw 
a desolate shore stretching both ways — nothing to eat, 
nothing to drink, but fortunately the raft and the money , 
had been thrown near her; none of the lashings having 
given way — only what is the use of a gold ducat, though 
worth nine shillings in silver, or even of a hundred, amongst 
tangle and sea-gulls ? The money she distributed amongst 
her pockets, and soon found strength to rise and march 
forward. But which was forward? and which backward? 
She knew by the conversation of the sailors that Paita 
must be in the neighbourhood; and Paita, being a port, 
could not be in the inside of Peru, but, of course, some- 
where on its outside — and the outside of a maritime land' 
must be the shore; so that, if she kept ithc shore, and 
went far enough, she could not fail of hitting her foot 
against Paita at last, in the very darkest of nights, pro- 
vided only she could first find out which was up and which 
was down; else she might walk her shoes off, and find her- 
self, after all, a thousand miles in the wrong. Here was 
an awkward case, and all for want of a guide-post. Still, 
when one thinks of Kate’s prosperous horoscope; that, 
after so long a voyage, only, out of the total crew, 
was thrown on the American shore, with ^ue hundred and 
five pounds in her purse of clear gain on the voyage, a 
conviction arises that she could not guess wrongly. She 

B— HI. 



might have tossed up, having coins in her pocket, heads 
or tails! but this kind^of sortilege was then coming to 
be thought irreligious in Christendom, as a Jewish and u 
heathen mode of questioning the dark future. She simply 
guessed, therefore; and very soon a thing happened which, 
though adding nothing to strengthen her guess as a true 
one, did much, to sweeten it, if it should prove a false one. 
On turning a point of the shore, she came upon a barrel of 
biscuit washed ashore from the ship. Biscuit is one of the 
best tilings I know, even if not made by Mrs Bobo;* but 
it is the soonest spoiled^ and one would like to hear counsel 
on one i:>uzzliijg point, why it is that a toucii of water utterly 
ruins it, taking its life, and leaving behind a caput mortuum. 
Upon this caput, in default of anything better, Kate break- 
fasted. And, breakfast being over, she rang the bell for the 
waiter to take away, and to — — Stop ! what nonsense ! 
Tlierccould be nobell; bcsidc9which,tlierecouldbe no waiter. 
‘Well, then, without asking the waiter’s aid, she that was til- 
ways prudent packed up some of the Catholic king’s biscuit, 
as she had previously packed up far too little of his gold. 
But in such cases a most delicate question occurs, pressing 

* Who is j\rrs Bobo? The reaocr will say, “I know not Bobo.” 
Possibly; but, for all that, Bobo is known to senates. From the Ame- 
rican Senate [Friday, March 10, 1854] Bobo received the amplest 
testimonials of merits, that have not yet been matched. In tho debate 
on William Nevins* claim for the extension of his patent for a machine 
that rolls and cuts erackers aud biscuits, thus spoke Mr Adams, a must 
distinguished senator, against Mr Badger — is said this is a dis- 
covery of the patentee for making the best biicuits. Now, if it be so, lie 
must have got his invention from Mrs ajobo of Alabama; for she cer- 
tainly makes better biscuit than anybody in the world. I can prove by 
luy ftiend from Alabama (Mr Clay), who 'sits beside me, and by any 
man who ever staid^^t Mrs Bobo’s house, that slie makes better biscuit 
than anybody else in the world; and if this man has the best plan tor 
making biscuit, he must have got it from Aer.” Henceforward 1 hope we 
know where to apply for biscuit. 



equally on dietetics and algebra. It is this: if you pack 
up too inucli, then, by this extra burden of salt provisions, 
you may retard for days your arrival at fresh provisions; 
on the other hand, if you pack up too little, you may 
famish, and never arrive at all. Catalina hit the jusle 
milieu; and, about twilight on the third day, she found 
herself entering Paita, without having had to swim any 
very broad river in her walk. 

11 . — From the Malice of the to the Malice cf Man and 

The first thing, in sucli a case of distress, which a young 
lady docs, even if she happens to be a young gentleman, 
is to beautify her dress. Kate alwa}^ attended to that. 
The man she sent for was not properly a tailor, but one 
who employed tailors, he himself furnishing the materials. 
His name was Urquiza, a fact of very little importanee to 
us in 1854, if it hud stood only at the head and foot of 
Kate’s little account. But, unhappily for Kate’s d^but on 
tliis vast American stage, the case was otherwiJ^e. Mr 
Urquiza had the misfortune (equally common in the Old 
World and the New) of being a knave; anil also a showy, 
specious knave. Kate, who had prospered under sea allow- 
ances of biscuit and hardship, was now expanding in pro- 
portions. With very little vanity or consciousness on that 
head, she now displayed a really magnificent person; and, 
when dressed anew in the way that bbcame a young officer 
in the Spanish service, she looked^ the representative pic- 

* * **She looked” &o.; — If ever tlie reader should visit Aix-la-Chapelle, 
he will probably feel interest enough in the poor, wiid, impassioned girl, 
to look out for a picture of her in that city, and the only one known 
tainly to be authentic. It is in the collection of Mr Sempeller. For 

some timo it was supposed that the best (if not the enly) portrait of her 



ture of a Spanish cdballador^ It is strange* that such an 
appearance, and such a rank, should have suggested to 
Urquiza the presumptuous idea of wishing that Kate might 
become his clerk. He did^ however, wish it; for Kate 
wrote a beautiful hand; and a stranger thing is, that Kate 
accepted his proposal. This might arise from the diffi- 
culty of moving in those days to any di'Jtance in Peru. 
The ship which threw Kate ashore had been merely bring- 
ing stores to the station of Paita; and no corps of the royal 
armies was readily to be reached, whilst something must 
be done at once for a livelihood. Urquiza had two mer- 
cantile establishments — one at Trujillo, to which he re- 
paired in person, on Kate’s agreeing to undertake the 
management of the. other in Paita, Like the sensible girl 
that we have always found her, she demanded speeific in- 
structions for her guidance in duties so new. Certainly 
she was in a fair way for seeing life. Telling her beads 
at St Sebastian’s, manoeuvring irregular verbs at Vit- 
toria, acting as gentleman-usher at Valladolid, serving his 
Spanish Majesty round Cape HoTn, fighting with storms 
and sharks off the coast of Peru, and now commencing as 
book-keeper oi» commia to a draper at Paita — does she not 
justify the cliaractcr that I myself gave her, just before 
dismissing her from St Sebastian’s, of being a “handy” 
girl? Mr Urquiza’s instructions were short, easy to be 
understood, but rather comic; and yet (which *is odd) they 
led to tragic results.^ There were two debtors of the shop 

lurked BomcwJierc in Italy. Since the discovery of the picture at Aix- 
la-Chapelle, that notion has been abandoned. But there is great reason 
to believe that, both in Madrid and Rome, many portraits of Jier must 
have been painted t^mcet the intense interest which arose in her history 
subsequently amongst all men of rank, military or ecclesiastical, whether 
in Italy or Spain. The date of these ^ ould range between sixteen and 
twenty-two years from the period which we have now reached ( 1608 ). 



(^anyy it is* to be hopcd^ but two meritlDg bis affectionate 
notice), with respect to whom he left the most opposite 
directions. The one was a very hantlsome lady; and the 
rule as to her was, that she was to have credit unlimited; 
strictly unlimited. That seemed plain. The other cus- 
tomer, favoured by Mr Urquiza’s valedictory thoughts, 
was a young man, cousin'to the handsome lady, and bear- 
ing the nauie of Reyes. This youth occupied in Mr Ur- 
quiza’s estimate the same hyperbolical rank as tlie hand- 
some lady, but on the opposite side of the equation. The 
rule as to him was, that he was to have no credit; strictly 
none. In this case, also, Kate saw no difficulty; and when 
she came to know Mr Reyes a little, she found the path of 
pleasure coinciding with the path of duty. Mr Urquiza 
could not be more precise in laying down the rule, than 
Kate was in enforcing it. But in the other case a scruple 
arose. Unlimited might be a 'word, not of Spanish law, 
but of Spanish rhetoric; such as, “ lAve a thousand years,' 
which even annuity offices utter without a pang. Kate 
therefore wrote to Trujillo, expressing her honest ‘fears, 
and djcsiring to have more definite instructions. These 
were positive. If the lady chose to senc^ for the entire 
shop, her account was to be debited instantly with that. 
She had, however, as yet, not sent for the shop, but she 
began to manifest strong signs of sending for the shop?7iah. 
Upon the blooming young Biscayan had her roving eye 
settled; and she was in the course ofjnaking up her mind 
to take Kate for a sweetheart. Poor Kate saw this with 
a heavy heart. And, at the same time that she hud a 
prospect of a tender friend more than she wanted, she 
had become certain of an extra enemy that she wanted 
quite as little. What she had done to offend Mr Reyes, 
Kate could not guess, except as’ to the matter of the 


credit; but then, in that she only followed her instructiona. 
Still, Mr Reyes was of opinion that there were two ways 
of executing orders: but the main offence was uninten- 
tional on Kate’s part. Reyes (though as yet she did not 
know it) had himself been a candidate for the situation of 
clerk; and intended probably to keep the equation pre- 
cisely ns it was with respect td* the allowance of credit, 
only to change places with the handsome lady— keeping 
her on the negative side, himself on the affirmative; an 
arrangement, you know, that in the final result could haVe 
made no sort of pecuniary difference to Urquiza. 

Thus stood matters, when a party of vagrant come- 
dians strolled into Paita. Kate, being a native Spaniard, 
ranked as one of the Paita aristocracy, and was expected 
to attend. She did so ; and there also was the malignant 
Reyes. He came and seated himself purposely so as to 
shut out Kate from all view of the stage. She, who had 
nothing of the bully in her nature, and was a gentle crea- 
ture, when her wild Biscayan blood had not been kindled 
by insult, courteously requested him to move a little; upon 
which Reyes replied, that it was not in his power to .oblige 
the clerk as to J:hat, but that he could oblige him by cut- 
ting his throat. The tiger that slept in Catalina wakened 
at once. She seized him, and would have executed ven- 
geance on the spot, but that a party of young men inter- 
posed, for the present, to part them. The next day, when 
Kate (always ready tjp forget and forgive) was thinking no 
more of the row, Reyes passed; bv spitting at the window, 
and other gestures insulting to Kate, again he roused her 
Spfl^nish blood. Out she rushed, sword in hand; a duel be- 
^n in the street; and very soon Kate’s sword had passed 
into the heart of Reyes. Now that the mischief was done^ 
the police were, as usual, all alive for the pleasure of aveng- 



ing it. Kate fouud herself suddenly in a strong prison, 
and with small hopes of leaving it, except for execution. 

12 . — From the Steps leading up to the Scaffold^ to the Steps 
leading down to Assassination. . 

The relatives of the dead man were potent in Faita, and 
clamorous for justice; so that^tho corrcgidor^ in a cf&e 
where he saw a very poor chance of being corrupted by 
bribes, felt it his duty to be sublimely incorruptible. The 
reader knows,, however, that amongst the connections of 
the deceased bully, was that handsome lady, who differed 
as much from her cousin in her sentiments as to Kate, as 
she did in the extent of her credit with Mr Urqniza. To 
her Kate wrote a note; and, using one of the Spanish 
King’s gold coins for bribing the jailer, got it safely de- 
livered. That, perhaps, was unnecessary; for the lady 
had been already on the alert, and had summoned Ur- 
qulza from Trujillo. By some means not very luminously 
stated, and by paying proper fees in proper quarters, 
Kate w^as smuggled out of the prison at nightfall, and 
smuggled into a pretty house in the suburbs. Had she 
known exactly the footing she stood on as to the law, she 
would have been decided. K& it was, she was uneasy, and 
jealous of mischief abroad; and, before supper, she under- 
stood it all. Urquiza briefly informed his clerk that it 
w ould be requisite for him (the clerk) to marry the hand- 
some lady. But why ? Because, said Urquiza, after talking 
for hours with the corregidor, who was infamous for obsti- 
nacy, he had found it impossible to make him “ hear reason,” 
and release the prisoner, until this compromise of marriage 
was suggested. But how could public justice be pacified 
for the clerk’s unfortunate homicide of iSeyes, by a female 
cousin of the deceased man engaging to love, honour, 



and obey the clerk for life? Kate could not see her way 
through this logic. “ Nonsense, my friend,” said Urquiaa, 
" you don’t comprehend. As it stands, the affair is a mur- 
der, and hanging the penalty. But, if you marry into the 
murdered mnn*s house, then it becomes a little family 
murder — all quiet and comfortable amongst ourselves. 
What has the corregidor Jlo do- with that? or the public 
either? Now, let me introduce the bride.” Supper en- 
tered at that moment, and the bride immediately after. 
The thoughtfulness of Kate was narrowly. observed, and 
even alluded to, but politely ascribed to the natural 
anxieties of a prisoner, and the very imperfect state of his 
liberation even yet from prison surveillance, Kate had, 
indeed, never been in so trying a situation before. The 
anxieties of the farewell night at St Sebastian were nothing 
to this; because, even if she had failed then^ a failure might 
not have been always irreparable. It was but to watch 
and wait. But now, at this supper table, she was not 
more alive to the nature of the peril than she v/as to the 
fact, that if, before the night closed, she did not by some 
means escape from it, she never would escape with life. 
The deception to her sex, though resting on no motive 
that pointed to these people, or at all concerned them, 
would be resented as if it bad. The lady would regard the 
case as a mockery; and Urquiza would lose his opportunity 
of delivering himself from an imperious mistress. Accord- 
ing to the usages of the times and country, Kate knew 
that within twelve hours she would be assassinated. 

People of infirm er resolution would have lingered at the 
supper table, for the sake of putting off the evil moment 
^ final crisis. Not so Kate. She had revolved the case 
- on all its sides in a few minutes, and had formed her reso- 
lution. This done, she was as ready for the trial at one 



moment as anotlier; and, when the lady suggested that 
the hardships of a prison must have made repose desirable, 
Kate assented, and instantly rose. A sort of procession 
formed, for the purpose of doing honour to the interesting 
guest, and escorting him in pomp to his bedroom. Kate 
viewed it much in the same light as that procession to 
which for some days she had been expecting an invitation 
from the corregidor. Far ahead ran the servant- woman, 
as a sort of outrider; then came Urquiza, like a pacha of 
two tails, who granted two sorts of credit — viz., unlimited 
and none at all — bearing two wax- lights, one in each hand, 
and wanting only cymbals and kettle-drums to express 
emphatically the pathos of his Castilian strut; next came 
the bride, a little in advance of the clei'k, but still turning 
obliquely toward.s him, and smiling graciously into his 
face; lastly, bringing up the rear, came the prisoner — our 
poor ensnared Kate — the nun, the page, the mate, the 
clerk, the homicide, the convict; and for this night only, 
by particular desire, the bridegroom elect. 

It was Kate’s fixed opinion, that, if for a moment she 
entered any bedroom having obviously no outlet, her fate 
would be that of an ox once driven withiji the shambles. 
Outside, the bullock might make some defence with his 
horns; but once in, with no space for turning, he is muflfled 
and gagged. She carried her eye, therefore, like a hawk’s, 
steady, though ^restless, for vigilant examination of every 
angle she turned. Before she entered any bedroom, she was' 
resolved to reconnoitre it from the doorway, and, in case 
of necessity, show fight at once before entering, as the best 
chance in a crisis where all chances were bad. Everything 
ends; and at last the procession reached the bedroom- door, 
the outrider having filed off to the rear.* One glance suf- 
ficed to satisfy Kate that windows there were none^ and 


therefore no outlet for escape. Treachery appeared even 
in that; and Eate^ though unfortunately without arms, was 
now fixed for resistance. Mr Urquiza entered first, with 
a strut more than usually grandiose, and inexpressibly 
sublime — Sound the trumpets ! Beat the drums 1” There 
were, as we know already, no windows; but a slight inter- 
ruption to Mr Urquiza’s pompous tread showed that there 
were steps downwards into the room. Those, thought 
Kate, will suit me even better. She had watched the un- 
locking of the bedroom- door — she had lost nothing — she 
had marked that the key was left in the lock. At this 
moment, the beautiful lady, as one acquainted with the de- 
tails of the house, turning with the air of a gracious moni- 
tross, held out her fair hand to guide Kate in careful de- 
scent of the steps. This had the air of taking out Kate to 
dance; and Kate, at that same moment, answering to it by 
the gesture of a modern waltzer, threw her arm behind the 
lady’s waist; hurled her headlong down the steps right 
against Mr Urquiza, draper and haberdasher; and then, 
with the speed of lightning, throwing th6 door home within 
its architrave, doubly locked the creditor and unlimited 
debtor into the rat-trap which they had prepared for herself. 

The affrighted outrider fled with horror; she knew that 
the clerk had already committed one homicide; a second 
would cost him still less thought; and thus it happened 
that egress was left easy. « 

13 . — From Hunmn Malice^ harh again to the Malice 
of Winds and Waves, 

But, when abroad, and free once more in the bright 
starry night, which way should Kate turn % The whole 
city would proVe but one vast rat-trap for her, as bad 
as Mr Urquiza’s, if she was not off before morning. At a 


glance ehe comprehended that the sea was her only chance. 
To the port she fled. All was silent. Watchmen there 
were none; and she jumped into a boat. To use the oars 
was dangerous^ for she had no means of muffling them. 
But she contrived to hoist a sail, pushed off with a boat- 
hook, and was soon •stretching across the water for the 
mouth of the harbour, before a breeze light but favour- 
able. Having cleared the difficulties of exit, she lay down, 
and unintentionally fell asleep. When she awoke, the sun 
had been up three or four hours; all was right otherwise; 
but, had she not served as a sailor, Kate would have 
trembled upon finding that, during her long sleep of per- 
haps seven or eight hours, she had lost sight of land; by 
wha^distance she could only guess; and in what direction, 
was to some degree doubtful. All this, however, seemed 
a great advantage to the bold girl, throwing her thoughts 
back on the enemies she had left behind. The disadvan- 
tage was — having no breakfast, not even damaged biscuit; 
and some anxiety naturally arose as to ulterior prospects 
a little beyond the horizon of breakfast. But who’s 
afraid 1 As sailors whistle for a >vind, Catalina really 
had but to whistle for anything with en^’gy, and it was 
sure to come. Like Cse&ar to the pilot of Dyrrhachium, 
she might have said, for the comfort of her poor timorous 
boat (though a boat that in fact was destined soon to 
polish), Catalmain veliis^ et foriunas ejus.'* Meantime, 
being very doubtful as to the best course for sailing, and 
content if her course did but lie off shore, she “can led 
on,” as sailors say, under easy saib going, in fact, just 
whither and just how the Pacific breezes suggested in the 
gentlest of whispers. All right behind, was Kate's opinion; 
and, what was better, very soon she might say, all right 
ahead; for, some hour or two before sunset, when dinner 



was for once becoming, even to Eate, the most interesting 
of subjects for meditation, suddenly a large ship began to 
swell upon the brilliant atmosphere. In those latitudes, 
and in those years, any ship was pretty sure to be Spanish: 
sixty years later, the odds were in favour of its being an 
English buccaneer; which would harve given a new direc- 
tion to Kate’s energy. Kate continued to make signals 
with a* handkerchief whiter than the crocodile’s of Ann. 
Dom. 1592, else it would hardly have been noticed. 
Perhaps, after all, it would not, but that the ship’s course 
carried her very nearly across Kate’s. The stranger lay 
to for her. It was dark by the time Kate steered herself 
under the ship’s quarter; and then was seen an instance of 
this girl’s eternal wakefulness. Something was painted 
on the stern of her boat, she could not see what; but she 
judged that, whatever this might be, it would express some 
connection with the port that she had just quitted. JSTow, 
it was her wish to break the chain of traces connecting 
her with such a scamp as Urquiza; since else, through his 
commercial correspondence, he might disperse over Peru 
a portrait of herself by no means flattering. How should 
she accomplish, this ? It was dark; and she stood, as you 
may see an Etonian do at times, rocking her little boat 
from side to side, until it had taken in water as much as 
miglit be agreeable. Too much it proved for the boat’s 
constitution, and the boat perislied of dropsy — Kate de- 
clining to tap it. She got a ducking herself; but what 
cared she ?• Up the ship’s side . he went, as gaily as ever, 
in those years when she was called pussy, she had raced 
after the nuns of St Sebastian; jumped upon deck, and 
told the first lieutenant, when he questioned her about her 
.jad ventures, quite as much truth as any man, under the 
"rank of admiral, had a right to expect. 



14 . — Bright Gleams of Sunshine, 

This ship was full of recruifs for the Spanish army, and 
bound to Conception. Even in that destiny was an itera- 
tion, or repeating memorial of the significance that ran 
through Catalina’s most casual adventures. She had en- 
listed amongst the soldiers; and, on reaching port, the 
very first person who came off from shore was a dashing 
young military officer, whom at once, by ^ his name and 
rank (though she had never consciously seen him), she 
identified as her own’brother. He was splendidly situated 
in the service, being the Governor-Gen eral’s secretary, be- 
sides his rank as a cavalry officer; and his errand on board 
being to inspect the recruits, naturally, on reading in the 
roll one of them described as a Biscayan, the ardent young 
man edme up with higli-bred courtesy to Catalina, took 
the young recruit’s hand with kindness, feeling that to be 
a compatriot at so great a distance was to be a sort of re- 
lative, and asked with emotion after old boyish remem- 
brances. There was a scriptural pathos in what followed, 
as if it were some scene of domestic re-union opening itself 
from patriarchal ages. The young officer was the eldest 
son of the house, and had left Spain wh(^ Catalina was 
only three years old. But, singularly enough, Catalina it 
was, the little wild cat that he yet remembered seeing at 
St Sebastian’s, upon whom his earliest inquiries settled. 
“ Did the recruit know his family, the De Erausos?” Oh 
yes; everybody knew them, "Did the recruit know little 
Catalina?” Catalina smiled, as she replied that she did; 
and gave such an animated description of the little fiery 
wretch, as made the officer’s eye flash with gratified ten- 
derness, and with certainty that the recruit was no counter- 
feit Biscayan. Indeed, you know, if Kate couldn’t give a 
good description of " pussy,” who could? The issue of the 



interview was, that the officer insisted on Kate’s making 
a home^ of his quarters, He did other services for his 
unknown sister. He placed her as a trooper in his own 
regiment, and favoured her in many a way that is open to 
one having authority. But the person, after all, that did 
most to serve our Kate, was Kate. War was then raging 
with Indians, both from Chili and Peru. Kate had always 
done her duty in action; but at length, in the decisive 
battle of Puren, there was an opening^ for doing something 
more. Havoc had been made of her own squadron; most 
of the officers were killed, and the standard was carried 
off. Kate gathered around her a small party — galloped 
after the Indian column that was carrying away the trophy 
— charged — saw all her own party killed — but, in spite of 
wounds on her face and shoulder, succeeded in bearing 
away the recovered standard. She rode up to the general 
and his staff; she dismounted; she rendered up her prize; 
and fainted away, much less from the blinding blood, than 
from the tears of joy which dimmed her eyes, as the ge- 
neral, waving his sword in admiration over her head, pro- 
nounced our Kate on the spot an Alferez^^ or standard- 
bearer, with a « commission from the King of Spain and 
the Indies. Bonny Kate ! noble Kate ! I would there 
were not two centuries laid between us, so that I might 
have the pleasure of kissing thy fair hand. 

15 . — The Sunshine is Overcast, 

Kate had th^ good sense to see the danger of revealing 
her sex, or her relationship, even to her own brqther. The 
g^sp of the church never relaxed, never " prescribed,” un- 
less freely and by choice. The nun, if discovered, would 

• — This rank in the Spanish a'*my is, or .was, on a level, 

with the modem sous-lkvJtenmt of France. 



have been taken out of ttie horse-barracks or the dragoon- 
saddle. Sho had the firmness, therefore, for many years, 
to resist the sisterly impulses that sometimes suggested 
such a confidence. For years, and those years the most 
important of her life — the years that developed her cha- 
racter — she lived undetected as a brilliant cavalry ofiiccr, 
under her brother’s patronage. A nd the bitterest grief in 
poor Kate’s whole life, was the ti agical (and, were it not 
fully attested, one might say the ultra-scenical) event that 
dissolved their long connection. Let me spend a word of 
apology on poor Kate’s errors. We all commit many; 
both you and I, reader. No, stop; that’s not civil. You, 
reader, I know, are a saint; I am not, though very near it. 
I do err at long intervals; and then I think with indul- 
gence of the many circumstances that plead for this poor 
girl. The Spanish armies of that day inherited, from 
the days of Cortez and Pizarro, shining remembrances of 
martial prowess, and the very worst of ethics. To think 
little of bloodshed, to quarrel, to fight, to gamble, to 
plunder, belonged to the very atmosphere of a camp, to’ 
its indolence, to its ancient traditions. In your own 
defence, you were obliged to do such thing*!g. Besides all 
these grounds of evil, the Spanish army had just then 
an extra demoralisation from a war with savages — faith- 
less and bloody. Do not think too much, reader, of kill- 
ing a man — do not, I beseech you I That word “HZ” is 
sprinkled over every page of Kate’s own autobiography. 
It ought not to be read by the light of these days. Yet, 

how if a man that she killed yv^ere % Hush ! It was 

sad; but is better hurried over in a few words. Years 
after this period, a young officer, one day dining with 
Kate, entreated her to become his second in a duel. Such 
things were every-day affairs. However, Kate had reasons 



for decKning tlie service, and did* so. But the olBcer, as 
he was sullenly departing, said, that if he were killed (as 
he thought he should be), his death would lie at Kate's 
door. 1 do uot take Ms view of the case, and am not 
moved by his rhetoric or his logic. Kate waSj and relented. 
The duel was fixed for eleven at night, under the walls of 
a monastery. Unhappily, the night proved unusually dark, 
so that the two principals had to tie white handkerchiefs 
round their elbows, in order to descry each other. In the 
confusion they wounded each other mortally. Upon that, 
according to a usage not peculiar to Spaniards, but extend- 
ing (as doubtless the reader knows) for a century longer 
to our own countrymen, the two seconds were obliged in 
honour to do something towards avenging their principals. 
Kate had her usual fatal luck. Her sword passed sheer 
through the body of her opponent : this unknown oppo- 
nent falling dead, had just breath left to cry out, Ah, 
villain! you have killed me!” in a voice of horrific re- 
proach; and the voice was the voice of her brother! 

• The monks of the monastery under whose silent shadows 
this murderous duel had taken place, roused by the clash- 
ing of swords and the angry shouts of combatants, issued 
out with torches, to find one only of the four officers sur- 
viving. Every convent and altar had the right of asylum 
for a short period. According to the custom, the monks 
carried Kate, insensible with anguish of mind, to the sanc- 
tuary of their chapel. There for some days they detained 
her; but then, having furnished her with a horse and some 
provisions, they turned her adrift. Which way should the 
unhappy fugitive turn ? In blindness of heart, she turned 
towards the sea. ^ ^t was the sea that had brought her to 
Peru; it was the sea that would perhaps carry her away. 
It was the sea that had first showed her this land and its 



golden hopes; it was the sea that ought to hide from her 
its fearful remembrances. The sea it was that had twice 
spared her life in extremities; the sea it was that might now, 
if it chose, take back the bauble that it had spared in vain. 

W,— Kate's Ascent of the Andes, 

Three days our poor heroine followed the coast. Her 
horse was then almost unable to move; and on his account 
she turned inland to a thicket, for grass and shelter. As 
she drew near to it, a voice challenged, ^^Who goes thereV' 
— Kate answered, Spain f What people — '‘A friend." 
It was two soldiers, deserters, and almost starving. Kate 
shared her provisions with these men; and, on hearing 
their plan, which was to go over the Cordilleras, she 
agreed to join the party. Their object was the wild one 
of seeking the river Dorado, whose waters rolled along 
golden sands, and whose pebbles were emeralds. Tiers was 
to throw herself upon a line the least liable to 2)ursuit, and 
the readiest for a new chapter of life, in which oblivion 
might be found for the jiast. After a few days of incessant 
climbing and fatigue, they found themselves in the regions 
of perpetual snow. Summer came even hither; but came 
as vainly to this kingdom of frost as to the grave of her . 
brother. Ko fire, but the fire of human blood in youthful 
veins, could ever be kept burning in these aerial solitudes. 
Fuel was rarely to be found, and kindling a fire by inter- 
friction of dry sticks was a secret almost exclusively In- 
dian. However, our Kate can do everything; and she’s 
the girl, if ever girl did such a thing, that I back at any 
odds for crossing the Cordilleras. I would bet you some- 
thing now, reader, If I thought you would deposit your 
stakes by return of post (as they play at ch%s0, through 'the 
post-office), that Kate docs the trick; that she gets down 
B 2 


to the other side; that the soldiers do not; and that the 
horse, if preserved at all, is preserved in a way that will 
leave him very little to boast of. 

The party had gathered wild berries and esculent roots 
at the foot of the mountains, and the horse whs of very 
great use in carrying them. But this larder was soon 
emptied. There was nothing then to carry; so that the 
horse’s value, as a beast of burden, fell cent, per cent. In 
fact, very soon he could not carry himself, and it became 
easy to calculate when he would reach the bottom on the 
wrong side the Cordilleras. He took three steps back for 
one upwards. A council of war being held, the small army 
resolved to slaughter their horse. Ho, though a member 
of the expedition, had no vote; and, if he had, the votes 
would have stood three to one — majority, two against him. 
He was cut into quarters — a difficult fraction to distribute 
amongst a triad of claimants. No saltpetre or sugar could 
be had; but the frost was antiseptic. And the horse was 
preserved in as useful a sense as ever apricots were pre- 
served or strawberries; and that was the kind of preserva- 
tion which one page ago T promised to the horse. 

On a fire, painfully devised out of broom and withered 
leaves, a horse-steak was dressed; for drink, snow was 
allowed a discretion. This ought to have revived the party; 
and Kate, perhaps, it did. But the poor deserters were 
thinly clad, and they had not the boiling heart of Catalina. 
More and more they drooped. Kate did her best to cheer 
them. But the march was nearly at an end for them; and 
they were going, in one half-hour, to receive their last 
billet. Yet, before this consummation, they have a strange 
spectacle to see — such as few places could show but the 
upper chambei’s of the Cordilleras. They had reached a 
billowy scene of rocky masses, lajge and small, looking 



shockingly black on their perpendicular sides as they rose 
out of the vast snowy expanse. Upon the highest of these 
that was accessible, Kate mounted to look around her, and 
she saw — oh, rapture at such an hour ! — a man sitting on 
a shelf of rock,, with a gun by his side. Joyously she 
shouted to her comrades, and ran down to communicate 
the good news. Here was a sportsman, watching, perhaps, 
for an eagle; and now they would have relief. One man’s 
cheek kindled with the hectic of sudden joy, and he rose 
eagerly to march. The other was fast sinking under the 
fatal sleep that frost sends before herself as her merciful 
minister of death; but heaving in his dream the tidings of 
relief, and assisted by his friends, he also staggeringly 
arose. It could not be three minutes* walk, Kate thought, 
to the station of the sportsman. That thought supported 
them all. Under Kate’s guidance, who had taken a sailor’s 
glance at the bearings, they soon unthreaded the labyrinth 
of rocks so far as to bring the man within view. He had 
not left his resting-place; their steps on the soundless 
snow, naturally, he could not hear; and, as their road 
brought them upon him from the rear, still less could he 
see them. Kate hailed him; but so keenly was he ab- 
sorbed in some speculation, or iu the object of his watch- 
ing, that he took no notice of them, not even moving his 
head. Coming close behind him, Kate touched his shoulder, 
and said, '^My friend, are you sleeping?” Yes, he wm 
sleeping — sleeping the sleep from which there is no awak- 
ing; and the slight touch of Kate having disturbed the 
equilibrium of the corpse, down it rolled on the snow: the 
frozen body rang like a hollow iron cylinder; the face 
uppermost, and blue with mould, mouth open, teeth ghastly 
and bleaching in the frost, and a frightfiS grin upon the 
lips. This dreadful spectacle finished the struggles of the 



weaker man, who sank and died at once. The other made 
an*effort with so much spirit, that, in Kate’s opinion, hor- 
ror had acted upon him beneficially as a stimulant. But 
it was not really so. It was simply a spasm .of morbid 
strength, A collapse succeeded; his blood began to freeze; 
he sat down in spite of Kate, and he also died without fur- 
ther struggle. Yes, gone are the poor suffering deserters; 
stretched out and bleaching upon the snow; and insulted 
discipline is avenged. Great kings have long arms; and 
sycophants are ever at hand for the errand of the potent. 
What had frost and snow to do with the quarrel? Yet 
they made themselves sycophantic servants to the King of 
Spain; and they it was that dogged his deserters up to the 
summit of the Cordilleras, more surely than any Spanish 
bloodhound, or any Spanish tirailleur’s bullet. 

17 . — Kate stands alone on the Summit of the Andes, 

Now is our Kate standing alone on the summits of the 
Andes; and in solitude that is frightful, for she is alone 
with her own afflicted conscience. Twice before she had 
stood in solitude as deep upon the wild, wild waters of 
the Pacific; but her conscience had been tlien untroubled. 
Now is there nobody left that can help; her horse is dead 
— the soldiers are dead. There is nobody that she can 
speak to, except God; and very soon you will find that 
she does speak to Him; for already on these vast aerial 
deserts Ho has been whispering to her. The condition of 
Kate in some respects resembled that of Coleridge’s “ An- 
cient Mariner.” But possibly, reader, you may be amongst 
the many careless readers that have never fully under- 
stood what that condition was. Suffer me to enlighten 
you; else you rhin the story of the mariner; and by losing 
all its pathos, lose half its beauty. 



There are three readers of* tbe ''Ancient Mariner.” The 
first is gross* enough to fancy all the imagery of the ma- 
riner’s visions delivered by the poet fot actual facts of ex- 
perience; which being impossible, the whole pulverises, for 
that reader, into a baseless fairy tale. The second reader 
is wiser than that; he knows that the imagery is the ima- 
gery of febrile delirium; really seen, but not seen as an 
external reality. The maiiner had caught the pestilential 
fever, which carried off all his mates; he only had sur- 
vived — the deliiium had vanished; but the visions that had 
haunted the delirium remained. " Yes,” says the third 
reader, " they remained; naturally they did, being scorched 
by fever into his brain; but how did they happen to re- 
main on liis belief as gospel truths 1 The delirium had 
vanished: why had not the painted scenery of the delirium 
vanished, except as visionary memorials of a sorrow that 
was cancelled? Why was it that craziness settled upon 
this mariner’s brain, driving him, as if he were a Cain, or 
another Wandering Jew, to ' pass like night from land to 
land;’ and, at certain intervals, wrenching him until he 
made rehearsal of his errors, even at the difficult cost of 
' holding children from their play, and old men from the 
chimney corner?”’* That craziness, as the t/urd reader 
deciphers, rose out of a deeper soil than any bodily affec- 
tion. . It had its root in 2 )enitential sorrow. Oh, bitter is 
the sorrow to a conscientious heart, when, too late, it dis- 
covers the depth of a love that has been trampled under 
foot ! This mariner had slain the creature that, on all the 
earth, loved him best. In the darkness of his cruel super- 
stition he had done it, to save his human brothers from a 

fancied inconvenience; and yet, by that very act of cruelty, 

* The beautiful words of Sir Philip Sydney, in his Defense of 


he had himself called destruction upon their heads. The* 
Nemesis that followed punished him through ilmi — him that 
wronged through those that wrongfully he sought to be- 
nefit. That spirit who watches over the sanctities of love is 
a strong angel — is a jealous angel; and this angel it was 

** That loved the bird^ that loved the man 
That shot him with his bow." 

lie it was that followed the cruel archer into silent and 
slumbering seas: — 

Nine fathom deep he had follow’d him, 

Through jiho realms of mist and snow." 

This jealous angel it was that pursued the man into noon- 
day darkness, and the vision of dying oceans, into de- 
lirium, and finally (when lecovered from disease), into an 
unsettled mind. 

Not altogether unlike, tnough free from the criminal 
intention of the mariner, had been the offence of Kate; 
not unlike, also, was the punishment that nOw is dogging 
her steps. She, like the mariner, had slain the one sole 
creature that loved her upon the whole wide earth; she, like 
the mariner, for this offence, had been hunted into frost 
and snow — very soon will be hunted into delirium; and 
from that (if she escapes with life), ill be hunted into the 
trouble of a heart that cannot resU There was the excuse 
of one darkness, physical daikne&s, for her; there was the 
excuse of another daikiiess, the darkness of superstition, 
for the mariner. But, with all the excuses that earth, and 
the darkness of earth, can furnish, bitter it would be for 
any of us, reader, thiough every hour of life, waking or 
dreaming, to look back upon one fatal moment when we 
had pierced the heart that would have died for ua. In this 
only the darkneis had been merciful to Kate — ^that it had 
hidden for ever from her victim the hand that slew him* 



But now, iu such utter solitude^ her thoughts ran back to 
their earliest interview.- She remembered with anguish, 
how, on touching the shores of America, almost the hrst 
word that met her ear had been from him^ the brother 
whom she had killed, about the “ pussy ” of times long 
past; how the gallant young man had hung upon her 
words, as in her native Basque she tlesciibed her own mis- 
chievous little self, of twelve years back; how his colour 
went and came, whilst his loving memory of the little sister 
was revived by her own descriptive traits, giving back, as 
in a mirror, the fawn-like grace, the sqiiirrcl-like restless- 
ness, that once had^kindled his own delighted laughter; 
how he would take no denial, but showed on the spot, tliat 
simply to have touched — to have kissed — to have played 
with the little wild thing, that glorified, by her innocence, 
the gloom of St Sebastian’s cloisters, gave a right to his hos- 
pitality; how, through him only, she had found a welcome 
in camps; how, through him, she had found the avenue to 
honour and distinction. And yet this brother, so loving 
and generous, who, without knowing, had cherished and 
piotccted her, and all from pure holy love for herself as the 
innocent plaything of St Sebastian’s, him in^a moment she 
had dismissed from life. She, paused; she turned round, 
as if looking back for his grave; she saw the dreadful wil- 
dernesses of snow which already she had traversed. Silent 
they were at this season, even as in the panting heats of 
noon the Saharas of the torrid zone are oftentimes silent. 
Dreadful was the silence; it was the nearest thing to the 
silence of the grave. Graves were at the foot of the Andes, 
that she knew too well; graves were at the summit of the 
Andes, that she saw too well. And, as she gazed, a sudden 
thought flashed upon her, when her eyes fettled upon the 
corpses of the poor deserters — Could she, like them, have 


been all this while unconsoioaslj executing judgment upon 
herself? Bunning from a wrath that was doubtful, into the 
very jaws of a wrath that was inexorable ? Flying in panic 
— and behold! there was no man that pursued? For the 
first time in her life, Kate trembled, for the first time, 
Kate wept. Far less for the first time was it, that Kate 
bent her knee — that Kate clasped her hands — that Kate 
prayed. But it was the first time that she prayed as they 
pray, for whom no more hope is left but in prayer. 

Here let me pause a moment, for the sake of making 
somebody angry. A Frenchman, who sadly misjudges 
Kate, looking at her through a Parisiftn opera-glass, gives 
it as his opinion — that, because Kate first records her prayer 
on this occasion, therefore, now first of all she prayed. 1 
think not so. I love this Kate, bloodstained as she is; and 
•I could not love a woman that never bent her knee in 
thankfulness or in supplication. However, we have all a 
right to our own little opinion; and it is notyoii, "mon 
you Frenchman, that I am angry with, but somebody 
else that stands behind you. You,« Frenchman, and your 
compatriots, I love oftentimes for your festal gaiety of 
lieart; and I quarrel only with your levity, and that eter- 
nal worldliness that freezes too fiercely — that absolutely 
blisters with its frost, like the upper air of the Andes. 
You speak of Kate only as too readily you speak of all 
women; the instinct of a natural scepticism being to scoff 
at all hidden depths of truth. Else you are civil enough to 
Kate; and your homage"' (such as it may happen to be) is 
always at the service of a woman on the shortest notice. 
But behind you I see a worse fellow — a gloomy fanatic; a 
religious sycophant, that seeks to propitiate his circle by 
bitterness against the offences that are most unlike his own. 
And against him, I must say one word for Kate to the too 



hasty reader. This villain opens his fire on our Kate under 
shelter of a lie. For there is a standing lie in the very con- 
stitution of civil society — a necessity of error, Inisleading us 
as to the proportions of crime. Mere necessity obliges 
man to create many acts into felonies, and to punish them 
as the heaviest offences, which his better sense teaches him 
secretly to regard as perhaps among the lightest. Those 
poor mutineers or deserters, for instance, were they neces- 
sarily without excuse ? They might have been oppressively 
used ; but, in critical times of war, no matter for the ii^i- 
vidual palliations, the mutineer mist be shot: there is no 
help for it: as, in extremities of general famine, we shoot 
the man (alas 1 we are obliged to shoot him) that is found 
robbing the common stores, in order to feed his own perish- 
ing children, though the offence is hardly visible in the 
sight of God. Only blockheads adjust their scale of guilt 
to the scale of human punishments. Now, our wicked 
friend the fanatic, who calumniates Kate, abuses the advan- 
tage which, for such a purpose, he derives from the exag- 
gerated social estimate 'of all violence. Personal security 
being so main an object of social union, we arc obliged to 
frown upon all modes of violence, as hostile as the central 
principal of that union. We are obliged to rate it, accord- 
ing to the universal results towards which it tends, and 
scarcely at all according to the special condition of circum- 
stances in which it may originate. Hence a horror arises 
for that class of offences, which is (philosophically speaking) 
exaggerated; and by daily use, the ethics of a police-office 
translate themselves, insensibly, into the ethics even of re-^ 
ligious people. But I tell that sycophantish fanatic — not 
this only, viz., that he abuses unfairly, against Kate, the 
advantage which he has from the inevitably distorted bias of 
society — but also I tell him this second little thing, that, 

0— III. 



upon turning away the glass from that one obvious aspect 
of Kate’s character, her too fiery disposition to vindicate 
all rights by violence, and viewing her in relation to general 
religious capacities, she was a thousand times moi'e pro- 
misingly endowed than himself. It is impossible to be 
noble in many tilings, without having many points of con- 
tact with true religion. If you deny that, you it is that 
calumniate religion. Kate was noble in many things. Her 
worst errors never took a shape of self-interest or deceit. 

was brave, she was generous, she was forgiving, she bore 
no malice, she was full of truth — qualities that God loves 
cither in man or woman. She hated sycophants and dissem- 
blers. I hate them; and more than ever at this moment 
on her behalf. I wish she were but here, to give a punch 
on the head to that fellow who traduces her. And, coming 
round again to the occasion from which this short digression 
has started — viz., the question raised by the Frenchman, 
whether Kate were a person likely to pray under other cir- 
cumstances than those of extreme danger — I offer it as my 
opinion, that she was. Violent people are not always such 
from choice, but perhaps from situation. And, though the 
circumstances of Kate’s position allowed her little means 
for realising her own wishes, it is certain that those wishes 
pointed continually to peace and an unworldly happiness, 
if that were possible. The stormy clouds that enveloped 
her in camps, opened overhead at intervals, showing her a 
far-distant blue serene. She yearned,, at many times, for 
the rest which is not in camps or ar»nies; and it is certain 
^hat she ever combined with any plans or day-dreams of 
tranquillity, as their most essential ally, some aid derived 
from that dove-like religion which, at St Sebastian’s, from 
her infant days she had been taught so profoundly to adore. 



18 . — Kate begins to Descend the Mighty Staircase, 

Now, let us rise from this discussion of Kate against 
libellers, as Kate herself is rising from prayer, and con- 
sider, in conjunction with her, the character and promise 
of that dreadful ground which lies immediately before her. 

- ^yiiat is to be thought of it? I could wish we had a theo- 
dolite here, and a spirit-level, and other instruments, for* 
settling some important questions. Yet, no; on conside- 
ration, if one had a wish allowed by that kind fairy, with- 
out whose assistance it would be quite impossible to send 
even for the spirit-level, nobody would throw away the 
wish upon things so paltry. I would not put the fairy upon 
such an errand : I would order the good creature to bring 
no spirit-level, but a stiff glass of spirits for Kate; also, 
next after which, I would request a palanquin, and relays 
of fifty stout bearers — all drunk, in order that they might 
not feel the cold. The main interest at this moment, and 
the main difficulty — indeed, the open question ” of the 
case — was, to ascertain whether the ascent were yet ac- 
complished or not; and when would the descent com- 
mence? or had it, perhaps, long commenced? The cha- 
racter of the ground, in those immediate successions that 
could be connected by the eye, decided nothing; for the un- 
dulations of tho level had been so continual for miles, as to 
perplex any eye, even an engineer’s, in attempting to judge 
whether, upon the whole, the tendency were upw'ards or 
downwards. Possibly it was yet neither way; it is in- 
deed probable that Kate had been for some time travelling^ 
along a series of terraces that traversed the whole breadth 
of the topmost area at that point of crossing the Cordil- 
leras; and this area, perhaps, but not cSrtainly, might 
compensate any casual tendencies downwards by corre- 
sponding reascents. Then came the question, how long 



would tliese terraces yet continue ? and had the ascending 
parts really balanced the descending ] Upon that seemed 
to rest the final chance for Kate. Because, unless she very 
soon reached a lower level and a warmer atmosphere, mere 
weariness would oblige her to lie down, under a fierceness 
of cold that would not suffer her to rise after once losing 
ithe warmth of motion; or, inversely, if she even continued 
in motion, continued extremity of cold would, of itself, 
speedily absorb the little surplus energy for moving w hich 
3'et remained unexhausted by weariiiesss — that is, in short, 
the excessive weariness would give a murderous advan- 
tage to the cold, or the excessive cold would give a corre- 
sponding advantage to the weariness. 

At this stage of her progress, and whilst the agonising 
question seemed yet as indeterminate as ever, Kate’s 
struggle with despair, w'hich had been greatly soothed by 
the fervour of her prayer, revolved upon her in deadlier 
blackness. ^ All turned, she saw, upon a race against time, 
and the arrears of the road; and she, poor thing ! how little 
qualified could she be, in such a condition, for a race of any 
kind — and against two such obstinate brutes as Time and 
Space ! This hour of the progress, this noontide of Kate’s 
struggle, must have been the very crisis of the whole. De- 
spair was rapidly tending to ratify itself. Hope, in any 
degree, would be a cordial for sustaining her efforts. But 
to flounder along a dreadful chaos of snow-drifts, or snow- 
chasms, towards a point of rock which, being turned, 
^hould expose only another interminable succession of the 
same character — might that be endured by ebbing spirits, 
by stiffening limbs, by the ghastly darkness that w^as now 
beginning to gi^ther upon the inner eye ? And, if once de- 
spair became triumphant, all the little arrear of physical 
strength w^ould collapse at once. 



Oh ! verdure of human fields, cottages of men and women 
(that now suddenly, in the eyes of Kate, seemed all brothers 
and sisters), cottages with children around them at play, 
that are so far below — oh ! spring and summer, blossoms 
and flowers, to which, as to his symbols, God has given tho 
gorgeous privilege of rehearsing fo» ever upon earth his 
most mysterious perfection — Life, and the resurrections of 
Life — is it indeed true that poor Kate must never see 
you more ? Mutteringly she put that question to herself. 
But strange are the caprices of ebb and flow in the dcei> 
fountains of human sensibilities. At this very moment, 
when the utter incapacitation of despair was gathering fast 
at Kate’s heart, a sudden lightening, as it were, or flashing 
inspiration of hope, shot far into her spirit, a reflux almost 
supernatural, from the earliest effects of her prayer. 
Dimmed and confused had been the accuracy of her sen-^ 
satioEs for hours; but all at once a strong conviction came 
over her — that more and more was the sense of descent 
becoming steady and continuous. Turning round to mea- 
sure backwards with her eye the gi’ouud traversed through 
the last half-hour, she identified, by a remarkable-point of 
rock, the spot near which the three corpses were lying. 
The silence seemed deeper than ever. Neither was there 
any p]:antom memorial of life for the eye or for the ear, 
nor wing of bird, nor echo, nor green leaf, nor creeping 
thing that moved or stirred, upon the soundless waste. 
Oh, what a relief to this burden of silence would be a 
human groan! Here seemed a motive for still darker 
despair. And yet, at that very moment, a pulse of joy 
began to thaw the ice at her heart. It struck her, as she 
reviewed the ground, from that point wh3re the corpses 
lay, that^undoubtedly it had been for some time slowly 
descending. Her senses were much dulled by suffering; 



but this thought it was, suggested by a sudden appre- 
hcnMon of a continued descending movement, which had 
caused her to turn round. Sight had confirmed the sug- 
gestion first derived from her own steps. The distance 
attained was now sufficient to establish the tendency. 'Oh 
yes, yes; to a certainty she was descending — she had been 
descending for some time. Frightful was the spasm of 
joy which whispered that the worst was over. It was as 
when the shadow of midnight, that murderers had relied 
on, is passing away from your beleaguered shelter, and 
dawn will soon be manifest. It was as when a fiood, that 
all day long has raved against the walls of your house, ceases 
(you suddenly think) to rise; yes ! measured by a golden 
plummet, it is sinking beyond a doubt, and the darlings of 
your household are saved. Kate faced round in agitation 
to her proper direction. She saw, what previously, in 
her stunning confusion, she had not seen, that hardly two 
stone-throws in advance lay a mass of rock, split as into 
a gateway. Through that opening it now became certain 
that the road was lying. Hurrying forward, she passed 
within these natural gates. Gates of paradise they were. 
Ah, what a vista did that gateway expose before her 
dazzled eye ! what a revelation of heavenly promise ! Full 
two miles long, stretched a long narrow glen, everywhere 
descending, and in many parts rapidly. All was now 
placed beyond a doubt. She was descending; for hours, 
perhaps, had been descending insensibly, the mighty stair- 
case. Yes, Kate is leaving behina her the kingdom of frost 
and the victories of death. Two miles farther, there may 
be rest, if there is not shelter. And very soon, as the 
crest of her nefw-born happiness, she distinguished at the 
other end of that rocky vista a pavilion-shapeef mass of 
dark green foliage — a belt of trees, such as we see in the 



lovely parks of England, but islanded by a screen of thick 
busby undergrowth. Oh ! verdure of dark olive foliage, 
. offered suddenly to fainting eyes, as if by some winged pa- 
triarchal herald of wrath relenting — solitary Arab’s tent, 
rising with saintly signals of peace in the dreadful de'Sert — 
must Kate indeed die even yet, whilst she sees but cannot 
reach you ? Outpost on the frontier of man’s dominions, 
standing within life, but looking out upon everlasting 
death, wilt thou hold up the anguish of thy mocking in- 
vitation only to betray? Never, perhaps, in this w^orld 
was the line so exquisitely grazed that parts salvation and 
ruin. As the dove to her dovecot from the swooping hawk 
— as the Christian pinnace to the shelter of Christian bat- 
teries, from the bloody Mahometan corsair — so flew, so tried 
to fly, towards the anchoring thickets, that, alas ! could 
not weigh their anchors, and make sail to meet her, the 
poor exhausted Kate from the vengeance of pursuing frost. 

And she reached them; staggering, fainting, reeling, she 
entered beneath the canopy of umbrageous trees. But as 
oftentimes the Hebrew fugitive to a city of refuge, flying 
for his life before the avenger of blood, was pressed so 
k-otly, that on entering the archway of what seemed to him 
the heavenly eity gate, as he kneeled in deep thankfulness 
to kiss its holy merciful shadow, he could not rise again, 
but sank instantly with infant weakness into sleep — some- 
times to wake no more; so sank, so collapsed upon the 
ground, without power to choose her couch, and with little 
prospect of ever rising again to her feet, the martial nun. 
She lay as luck had ordered it, with her head screened by 
the undergrowth of bushes from any gales that might arise; 
she lay exactly as she sank, with her ej es up to heaven ; 
and thus it was that the nun saw, before falling asleep, the 
two sights that upon earth are fittest for the closing eyes 



of a nun, whether destined to open again, or to close for 
ever. She saw the interlacing of boughs overhead forming 
a dome, that seemed like the dome of a cathedral. She 
saw, through the fretwork of the foliage, another dome, far 
beyond the dome of an evening sky, the dome of some 
heavenly cathedral, not built with hands. She saw upon 
this upper dome the vesper lights, all alive with pathetic 
grandeur of colouring from a sunset that had just been 
rolling down like a chorus. She had not, till now, con- 
sciously observed the time of day; whether it were morn- 
ing, or whether it were afternoon, in the confusion of her 
misery, she had not distinctly known. But now she whis- 
pered to herself, " It is evening:" and what lurked half un- 
consciously in these words might be, The sun, that re- 
joices, has finished his daily toil; man, that labours, has 
finished /zw; I, that suffer, have finished mine.” That 
might be what she thought, but what she said was, It is 
evening; and the hour is come when the Angelas is sound- 
ing through St Sebastian.” What made her think of St 
Sebastian, so far away in depths of space and time % Her 
brain was Wandering, now that her feet were not; and, be- 
cause her eyes had descended from the heavenly to the 
earthly dome, that made her think of earthly cathedrals, 
and of eathedral choirs, and of St Sebastian’s chapel, with 
its silvery bells that carried the echoing Angelas far into 
mountain recesses. Perhaps, as her wanderings increased, 
she thought herself back into childl: od; became ** pussy ” 
once again; fancied that all since then was a frightful dream ; 
that she was not upon the dreadful Andes, but still kneel- 
ing in the holy chapel at vespers; still innocent as then; 
loved as then shi* h^d been loved; and that all men were 
liars, who said her hand was ever stained with blood. Little 
is mentioned of the delusions which possessed her; but that 



liUle gives a key to the impulse which her palpitating 
heart obeyed, and which her rambling brain for ever repro- 
duced in multiplying mirrors. Bestlessness kept her in 
waking dreams for a brief half-hour. But then fever and 
delirium would wait no longer; the killing exhaustion 
would no longer be refused; the fever, the delirium, and 
the exhaustion, swept in together with power like an army 
with banners; and the nun ceased through the gathering 
twilight any more to watch the catliedrals of earth, or the 
more sol^n cathedrals that rose in the heavens above. 

19. — ^a£e*s Bedroom is Invaded ly Horsemen, 

All night long she slept in her verdurous St Bernard’s 
hospice without awaking; and whether she would ever 
awake seemed to depend upon accident. The slumber that 
toi<%red above her brain was like that fluctuating silvery 
column which stands in scientific tub^, sinking, rising, 
deepening, lightening, contracting, expanding; or like the 
mist that sits, through sultry afternoons, upon the river of 
the American St Peter, sometimes rarefying for minutes 
into sunny gauze, sometimes (jondensing for hours into 
palls of funeral darkness. You fancy that, after twelve 
hours of any sleep, she must have been refreshed; better, at 
least, than she was last night. Ah ! but sleep is not always 
sent upon missions of refreshment. Sleep is sometimes 
the secret chamber in which death arranges his machinery, 
and stations his artillery. Sleep is sometimes that deep 
inystenous atmosphere, in which the human spirit is slowly 
unsettling its wings for flight from earthly tenements. It 
is now eight o’clock in the morning; and, to all appear- 
ance^ if Kate should receive no aid before ^oon, when next 
the sun is departing to his rest, then, alas 1 Kate will be 
departing to hers: when next the sun is holding out his 



golden Christian signal to man, that the hour is come for 
letting his anger go down, Kate will be sleeping away for 
ever into the arms of brotherly forgiveness. 

What is wanted just now for Kate, supposing Kate her- 
self to be wanted by this world, is, that this world would 
be kind enough to send her a little brandy before it is too 
late. The simple truth was, and a truth which I have known 
to take place in more ladies than Kate, who died or did not 
die, accordingly as they had or had not an adviser like my- 
self, capable of giving an opinion equal to Captain Buns- 
by’s, on this point — viz., whether the jcwelly star of life 
had descended too far down the arch towards setting, for any 
chance of rcascending by sponiantous effort. The fire was 
still burning in secret, but needed, perhaps, to be rekindled 
by potent artificial breath. It lingered, and might linger, 
but apparently would never culminate again, without ^me 
stimulus from earthly vineyards.* Kate was ever lucky. 

* Though not exactly in tho same circumstances as Kate, or sleeping, 
A la belle cioilCf on a declivity of the Andes, I have known (or heard cir- 
cumstantially reported) tlie cases of many ladies, besides Kate, who were 
in precisely the same critical danger of iwiishing fwr want of a little 
brandy. .A dessert-spoonful or two would have saved them. Avaunt! 
you wicked ” Temperance” medallist! repent as fast as ever you can, 
or, perhaps, tho next time we hear of you, anasarca and hydro-tkwax 
will be running after you, to punish your shocking excesses in water. 
Seriously, the case is one of constant recurrence, and constantly ending 
fatally from unseasoncible and pedantic rigour of temperance. Dr Dilrwin, 
the famous author of Zoonomia,” “ The Dotanio Garden,” &c., sacri- 
ficed his life to tho very pedantry and superstition of temperance, by 
refusing a glass of brandy in obedience to a system, at a mom^t when 
(according to the opinion of all around hi»^i) one single glass would liavo 
saved his life. The fact is, that the medical profession composes the 
most generous and liberal body of men amongst us; taken generally, by 
much tho most enlightened; but, professionally, the most timid. Want 
of boldness in tlie at .ministration of opium, &c., though they can be bold 
enough with mercury, is their besetting infirmity. And from this infir- 
mity females suffer most. One instan<'c I need hardly mention, tho fatal 
case of an august lady, mourned r>y nations, with respect to whom it was, 



though ever unfortunate; and the world, being of my opi- 
nion that Kate was worth saving, made up its mind about 
half-past eight o’clock in the morning to save her. Just 
at that time, when the night was over, and its sufferings 
were hidden — in one of those intermitting gleams that for 
a moment or two lightened the clouds of her slumber — 
Kate’s dull ear caught a sound that for years had spoken a 

and is, the belief of multitudes to this hour (well able to judge), that she 
would have been saved by a glass of brandy; and her chief medical at- 
tendant, Sir R. C., who shot himself, came to think so too late— too late for 
ker, and too late for himself. Amongst many cases of the same nature, 
which personally I havo been acquainted with, thirty years ago, a man 
illustrious for his intellectual accomplishments* mentioned to mo that 
his own wife, during her first or second cunfmement, was suddenly re- 
ported to him, by one of her female attendants (who slipped away unob- 
served by the medical people), as undoubtedly sinking fast. He hurried 
to her chamber, and saw that it was so. On this, ho suggested earnestly 
Boifie stimulant — laudanum or alcohol. The presiding medical authority, 
however, was inexorable. '‘Oh, by no means,” shaking his ambrosial 
wig; “ any stimulant at this crisis would be fatal.” But no authority 
could overrule the concurrent testimony of all symptoms, and of all un- 
professional opinions. By some pious falsehood, my friend smuggled the 
doctor out of the room, and immcdi.atcly smuggled a glass of brandy into 
the poor lady’s lips, yhe recovered as if under the immediate afflatus of 
magic; so sudden was her recovery, and so complete. The doctor is now 
dead, and went to his grave under the delusive persuasion — that not any 
vile glass of brandy, but the stem refusal of all brandy, was tho thing 
that saved his collapsing patient. The patient herself, who might natu- 
rally know something of the matter, was of‘a different opinion. She 
sidf^d with the factious body around lier bed (comprehendiiig all, beside 
the doctor), who felt sure that death was rapidly approaching, harrmy 
that brandy. The same result, in the same appalling crisis, 1 have known 
repeatedly produced by twenty-five drops of laudanum. Many will say, 
" Oh, never listen to a non-medical inan like this -writer. Consult in 
such a case your medical adviser.” You will, will you? Then let mo 
tell you, that you are missing the very logic of all I have been saying for 
the improvement of blockheads, which is — that you should consult any 
man tmt a medical man, since no other man has an^ obstinate prejudice 
of professional timidity. 

* On second thoughts, I see no reason for scrupling to mention that 
this man was Robert Southey. 


familiar language to her. What was it? It was the sound, 
though muffled and deadened, like the ear that heard it, 
of horsemen advancing. Interpreted by the tumultuous 
dreams of Kate, was it the cavalry of Spain, at whose head 
so often she had charged the bloody Indian scalpers? Was 
it, according to the legend of ancient days, cavalry that had 
been sown by her brother’s blood—^cavalry that rose from 
the ground on an inquest of retribution, and were racing 
up the Andes to seize her? Her dreams, that had opened 
sullenly to the sound, waited for no answer, but closed 
again into pompous darkness. Happily, the horsemen had 
caught the glimpse of some bright ornament, clasp, or 
aiguillette,on Kate’s dress. They were hunters and foresters 
from below — servants in the household of a beneficent lady; 
and, in pursuit of some flying game, had wandered far be- 
yond their ordinary limits. Struck by the sudden scintilla- 
tion from Kate’s dress played upon by the morning sun, they 
rode up to the thicket. Great was their surprise, great 
their pity, to see a young officer in uniform stretched within 
the bushes upon the ground, and apparently dying. Bor- 
derers from childhood on this dreadful frontier, sacred to 
winter and death, they understood the case at once. They 
dismounted, and, with the tenderness of women, raising the 
poor frozen cornet in their arms, washed her temples with 
brandy, whilst one, at intervals, suffered a few drop# to 
trickle within her lips. As the restoration of a warm bed was 
now most likely to be the one thing needed, they lifted the 
helpless stranger upon a horse, walking on each side with 
supporting arms. Once again our Kate is in the saddle, once 
ain a Spanish caballero. But Kate’s bridle-hand is deadly 
l§!d. And her i^purs, that she had never unfastened since 
'^leaving the monastic asylum, hung Us idle as the flapping sail 
that fills unsteadily with the breeze upon a stranded ship. 



This procession had many miles co go^ and over difficult 
ground ; but at length it reached the forest-like park and 
the chateau of the wealthy proprietress. Kate was still 
half-frozen and speechless, except at intervals. Heavens I 
can this corpse-like, languishing young woman be the Kate 
that once, in her radiant girlhood, rode with a handful of 
comrades into a column of two thousand enemies, that saw 
her comrades die, that persisted when all were dead, that 
tore from the heart of all resistance the banner of her 
native Spain ? Chance and change have '' written strange 
defeatures in her face.” Much is changed; but some things 
are not changed, either in herself or in those about her; 
there is still kindness that overflows with pity: there is still 
helplessness that asks for this pity without a voice: she is 
now receive'd by a senor, not less kind than that maternal 
aunt who, on the night of her birth, first welcomed her to a 
loving home; and she, the heroine of Spain, is herself as 
helpless now as that little lady, who, then at ten minutes 
of age, was kissed and blessed by all the household of St 

20 . — A Second Lull in Katds Stormy Life. » 

Let us suppose Kate placed in a warm bed. Let us sup- 
pose her in a few hours recovering steady consciousness; 
in la few days recovering some power of self-support; in a 
fortnight able to seek the gay saloon, where the senora 
was sitting alone, and able to render thanks, with that deep 
sincerity which ever characterised our wild-hearted Kate, 
for the critical services received from that lady and her 

This lady, a widow, was what the Fr^ch call a mitissef 
the Spaniards a mesiizza — that is, the daughter of a genuine 
Spaniard, and an Indian mother. I will call her simply, a 



Creole* which will indicate her want of pure Spanish blood 
sufficiently to explain her deference for those who had it. 
She was a kind^ liberal woman; rich rather more than 
needed where there were no opera-boxes to rent; a widow" 
about fifty years old in the wicked world’s account, some 
forty- two in her own; and happy, above all, in the posses- 
sion of a most lovely daughter, whom even the wicked 
world did not accuse of more than sixteen years. This 

daughter, Juana, was But stop— let her open the 

door of the saloon in which the seiiora and the cornet are 
conversing, and speak for herself. She did so, after an 
hour had passed; which length of time, to her that never 
had any business whatever in her innocent life, seemed suf- 
ficient to settle the business of the Old World and the.New. 
Had Pietro Diaz (as Catalina now called herself) been really 
a Peter, and not a sham Peter, what a vision of loveliness 
would have rushed upon his sensibilities as the door opened. 
Do not expect me to describe her, for which, however, there 
are materials extant, sleeping in archives, where they have 
slept for two hundred and twenty-eight years. It is enougli 
that she is reported to have united the stately tread of 

* ** Creole:*-- At tliat time llie infusion of negro or African blood was 
small. Consequently, none of the negro hideousness was diffused. After 
those intercomplexitics had arisen between all complications and inter- 
weavings of descent from three original strands — European, American, 
African — the distinctions of social consideration founded on them bred 
names so many, that a court calendar was necessary to keep you from 
blundering. As yet (t. in Kate’s time), the varieties were few. Mean- 
time, the word Creole has always been it’ applied in our English colonies 
to a person (though of strictly European blood), simply if 6om in the West 
Indies. In this English use, the word Creole expresses exactly the same 
di|||^nce as the Romans indicated by Hispanus and Hispanicua, Thd 
ftnnieant a person (>f Spanish blood, a native of Spain; the second, a 
bom in Spain. So of OermaniLa and Oermanicus, Jtalus and 
ttalicus, Anglus and Anglicus, &c.; '.n important distinction, on which 

Isaac Casaubon apud Sc/i'iptorea Mist, Augustan. 



Andalusian women with the innocent voluptuousness of 
Peruvian eyes. As to her complexion and figure, be it 
known that Juana’s father was a gentleman from Grenada, 
having in his veins the grandest blood of all this earth — 
blood of Goths and Vandals, tainted (for which Heaven be 
thanked !) twice over with blood of Arabs — once through 
Moors, once through Jews;* whilst from her grandmother 
Juana drew the deep subtle melancholy, and the beautiful 
contours of limb, which belonged to the Indian race — a race 
destined [ah, whereforp?] silently and slowly to fade away 
from the earth. No awkwardness was or could be in this 
antelope, when gliding with forest grace into the room; 
no town-bred shame; nothing but the unaffected pleasure 
of one who wishes to speak a fervent welcome, but knows 
not if she ought; the astonishment of a Miranda, bred in 
utter solitude, when first beholding a princely Ferdinand, 
and justiBO much reserve as to remind you, that, if Catalina 
thought fit to dissemble her sex, she did not. And consider, 
reader, if you look back, and are a great arithmetician, that 
whilst the senora had only fifty per cent, of Spanish blood, 
Juana had seventy-five; so that her Indian melancholy, 
after all, was swallowed up for the present by her Visi- 
gothic, by her Vandal, by her Arab, by her Spanish fire. 

Catalina, seared as she was by the world, has left it evi- 
dent in her memoirs that she was touched more than she 

* It is well known, that tho very reason why the Spanish beyond all 
nations became so gloomily jealous of a Jewish cross in the pedigree, was 
because, until the vigilance of the church rose into ferocity, in no nation 
was such a cross so common. The hatred of fear is ever the deepest. 
And men hated the' Jewish taint, as once in Jerusalem they hated the 
leprosy, because, even whilst they raved against it, the secret proofs of 
it might be detected amongst their own kindred; evo^ as in tho Temple, 
whilst once a Hebrew king rose in mutiny against tho priesthood (2 Chron. 
xxvi. 16-20), suddenly the leprosy, that dethronc^l him, blazed out upon 
his forehead. m 



wished to be by this innocent child. Juana formed a brief 
lull for Catalina in her too stormy existence. And if for 
her in this life the sweet reality of a sister had been pos- 
sible, here was the sister she would have chosen. On the 
other hand, what might Juana think of the cornet? To 
have been thrown upon the kind hospitalities of her native 
home, to have been rescued by her mother’s servants from 
that fearful death which, lying but a few miles off, had filled 
her nursery with traditionary tragedies — that was sufficient 
to create an interest in the strangely Such things it had 
been that wooed the heavenly Beedemona. But his bold 
martial demeanour, his yet youthful style of beauty, his 
frank manners, his animated conversation, that reported a 
hundred contests with suffering and peril, wakened for the 
first time her admiration. Men she had never seen before, 
except menial servants, or a casual priest. But here was a 
gentleman, young like herself, a splendid cavalier, tjiat rode 
in the cavalry of Spain; that carried the banner of the only 
potentate whom Veruvians knew of — the King of the Spains 
and the Indies; that had doubled Cape Horn; that had 
crossed the Andes; that had suffered shipwreck; that had 
rocked upon fifty storms; and had wrestled for life through 
fifty battles. 

The reader already guesses all that followed. The 
sisterly love which Catalina did really feel for this young 
mountaineer was inevitably misconstrued. Embarrassed, 
but not able, from sincere affection, or almost in bare 
propriety, to refuse such exp»*?ssions of feeling as corre- 
sponded to the artless and involuntary kindnesses of the 
ingenuous Juana, one day the cornet was surprised by 
mamma in the ft3t of encircling her daughter’s waist with 
his martial arm, although waltzing was premature by at 
least two centuries in Peru. She taxed him instantly with 



dislipnourably abusing her confidence. The cornet made 
but a bad defence. H6 mutjtered something about "'fra- 
ternal affection f about ** esteem,” and a great deal of meta^ 
physical words that are destined to remain untranslated in 
their original Spanish. The good senora, though she could 
boast only of forty-two years’ experience, or say forty-four, 
was not altogether to be "had" in that fashion; she was 
as learned as if she had been fifty, and she brought mat- 
ters to a speedy crisis. " You are a Spaniard,” she said, " a 
gentleman, therefore; remember that you are a gentleman. 
This very night, if your intentions are not serious, quit my 
house. Go to Tucuman; you shall command my horses 
and servants; but stay no longer to increase the sorrow 
that already you will have left behind you. My daughter 
loves you. That is sorrow enough, if you arc trifling with 
us. But, if not, and you also love Aer, and can be happy 
in our solitary mode of life, stay with us — stay for ever. 
Marry Juana with my free consent. I ask not for wealth. 
Mine is sulficient for you both.” Tlie cornet protested 
that the honour was one never contemplated by him — that 

it W'^as too great — that . But, of course, reader, you 

know that " gammon ” flourishes in Peru, amongst the 
silver mines, as well as in some more boreal lands, that 
produce little better than copper and tin. " Tin,” how- 
ever, has its uses. The delighted senora overruled all 
objections, great and small; and she confirmed Juana’s 
notion that the business of two worlds could be transacted 
in an hour, by settling her daughter’s future happiness in 
exactly twenty minutes. The poor, weak Catalina, not 
acting now in any spirit of recklessness, grieving sincerely 
for the gulf that was opening before her, a#d yet slrrinking 
effeminately from the momentary shock that would be in- 
flicted by a firm adherence to her duty, clinging to the 



anodyne of a short delay, allowed herself to be installed as 
the lover of Juana. Considerations of convenience, how- 
ever, postponed the marriage. It was requisite to make 
various purchases; and for this, it was requisite to visit 
Tucuman, where also the marriage ceremony could be per- 
formed with more circumstantial splendour. To Tucuman, 
therefore, after some weeks’ interval, the whole party re- 
paired. And at Tucuman it was that the tragical events arose, 
which, whilst interrupting such a mockery for ever, left the 
poor Juana still happily deceived, and never believing for 
a moment that hers was a rejected or a deluded heart. 

One reporter of Mr De Ferrer’s narrative forgets his 
usual generosity when he says, that the senora’s gift of her 
daughter to the Alferez was not quite so disinterested as 
it seemed to be. Certainly it was not so disinterested as 
European ignorance might fancy it: but it was quite as 
much so as it ought to have been, in balancing the inte- 
rests of a child. Very true it is, that, being a genuine 
Spaniard, who was still a rare creature in so vast a world 
as Peru — being a Spartan amongst 'Helots — a Spanish 
Alferez would, in those days, and in that region, have been 
a natural noble. His alliance created honour for his wife 
and for his descendants. Something, therefore, the cornet 
would add to the family consideration. But, instead of 
selfishness, it argued just regard for her daughter’s inte- 
rest to build upon this, as some sort of equipoise to the 
wealth which her daughter would bring. 

Spaniard, however, as she wis, our Alferez, on reaching 
Tucuman, found no Spaniards to mix with, but instead, 
twelve Portuguese. 


21 . — Eate once more in Storms, 

Catalina remembered the Spanish proverb, “ Pump out 


of a Spaniard all Lis good qualities, and the remainder 
makes a pretty fair Portuguese;’* but as there was nobody 
else to gamble with, she entered freely into their society. 
Soon she suspected that there was foul play: for all modes 
•of doctoring dice had been made familiar to her by the 
experience of camps. She watched; and, by the time she 
had lost her final coin, she was satisfied that she had been 
plundered. In her first anger, she would have been glad 
to switch the whole dozen across the eyes; but as twelve 
to one were too great odds, she determined on limiting 
her vengeance to the immediate culprit. Him she fol- 
lowed into the street; and coming near enough to dis- 
tinguish his profile reflected on a wall, she continued to 
keep him in view from a short distance. The lighthearted 
young cavalier whistled, as he went, an old Portuguese 
ballad of romance, and in a quartcr-of-an-hour came up to 
a house, the front-door of which he began to open with a 
pass-key. This operation was the signal for Catalina that 
the hour of vengeance had struck; and stepping up has- 
tily, she tapped the Portuguese on the shoulder, saying, 
Senor, you are a robber !” The Portuguese turned coolly 
round, and seeing his gaming antagonist, replied, “ Pos- 
sibly, sir; but I have no particular fancy for being told 
so,” at the same time drawing his sword. Catalina had 
not designed to take any advantage; and the touching him 
on the shoulder, with the interchange of speeches, and the 
known character of Kate, suflBciently imply it. But it is 
too probable, in such cases, that the party whose intention 
had been regularly settled from the first, will, and mugt, 
have an advantage unconsciously over a man so abruptly 
thrown on his defence. However this miglit be, they had 
not fought a minute before Catalina passed her sword 
through her opponent’s body; and, without a groan or a 


sigb, the Portuguese cavalier fell dead at his own door. 
Kate searched the street with her ears, and (as far as the 
indistinctness of night allowed) with her eyes. All was 
profoundly silent; and she was* satisfied that no human 
figure was in motion. What should be done with the* 
body? A glance at the door of the house settled that: 
Fernando had himself opened it at the very moment when 
he received the summons to turn round. She dragged the 
corpse in, therefore, to the foot of the staircase, put the 
key by the dead man’s side, and then issuing softly into 
the street, drew the door close with as little noise as pos- 
sible. Catalina again paused to listen and to watch, went 
home to the hospitable senora’s house, retired to bed, fell 
asleep, and early the next morning was awakened by the 
corr^gidor and four alguUzils. 

The lawlessness of all that followed strikingly exposes 
the frightful state of criminal justice at that time, wher- 
ever Spanish law prevailed. No evidence appeared to 
connect Catalina in any way with the death of Fernando 
Acosta. ' The Portuguese gamblers, besides that perhaps 
they thought lightly of such an accident, might have rea- 
sons of their own for drawing off public attention from 
their pursuits in Tucuman. Not one of these men came 
forward openly, else the circumstances at the gaming-table,, 
and the departure of Catalina so closely on the heels of 
her opponent, would have suggested reasonable grounds 
for detaining her until some further light should be ob- 
tained. As it was, her ir*prisonment rested upon no 
colourable ground whatever, unless the magistrate had 
ret(i^ed some anonymous information, which, however, 
fiil^ liever alleged. One comfort there was, meantime, in 
Spanish injustice: it did not loiter. Full gallop it went 
over the ground: one week often suflSced for informations 


— for trial — for execution; and the only bad consequence 
was, that a second or a third week sometimes exposed the 
disagreeable fact that everything had been “premature;** 
a solemn sacrifice had been made to offended justice, in 
which all was right except as to the victim; it was the 
wrong man; and that gave extra trouble; for then all was 
to do over again — another man to be executed, and, pos* 
sibly, still to be caught. 

Justice moved at her usual Spanish rate in the present 
case. Kate was obliged to rise instantly; not suffered to 
speak to anybody in the house, though, in going out, a 
door opened, and she saw the young Juana looking out 
with her saddest Indian expression. In ono day the trial 
was finished. Catalina said (which was true) that she 
hardly knew Acosta; and that* people of her rank were 
used to attack their enemies face to face, not by mur- 
derous surprises. The magistrates were impressed with 
Catalina’s answers (yet answers to wliai^ or to whom, in a 
case where there was no distinct charge, and no avowed 
accuser?) Things were beginning to look well, when 'all 
was suddenly upset by two witnesses, whom the reader 
(who is a sort of accomplice after the fact, having been 
privately let into the truths of the case, and In^ving con- 
cealed his knowledge) will know at once to be false wit- 
nesses, but whom the old Spanish buzwigs doated on as 
models of all that could be looked for in the best. Both 
were ill-looking fellows, as it was their duty to be. And 
the first deposed as follows: — ^That through his quarter of 
Tucuman, the fact was notorious of Acosta’s wife being 
the object of a criminal pursuit on the part of the Alfdrez 
(Catalina); that, doubtless, the injured iiusband had sur- 
prised the prisoner, which, of course, had led to the mur- 
der — to the staircase — to the key — to everything, in short. 



that could be wished. No — stopL what am I sayingf — 
to everything that ought to bo abominated. * Finally— ^for 
he had now settled the main question — that he had a 
friend who would take up the case where he himself, from 
shortsightedness, was obliged to lay it down. This friend 
— the Pythias of this shortsighted Damon — started up in 
a frenzy of virtue at this summons, and, rushing to the 
front of the alguazils, said, ‘‘That since his friend had 
proved sufficiently the fact of the Alferez having been 
lurking in the house, and having murdered a man, all that 
rested upon him. to show was, how that murderer got out 
of that house; which he could do satisfactorily; for there 
was a balcony running along the windows on the second 
floor, one of which windows he himself, lurking in a cor- 
ner of the street, flaw the Alferez throw up, and from the 
said balcony take a flying leap into the said street.**. Evi- 
dence like this was conclusive; no defence was listened to, 
nor indeed had the prisoner any to produce. The Alferez 
could deny neither the staircase nor the balcony; the 
street is there to this day, like the bricks in Jack Cade’s 
chimney, testifying all that may be required; and as to 
our friend who saw the leap, there he was — nobody could 
deny him^ The prisoner might indeed have suggested that 
she never heard of Acosta’s wife, nor had the existence of 
such a wife been proved, or even ripened into a suspicion. 
But the bench were satisfied; chopping logic in defence was 
henceforward impertinence; and sentence was pronounced 
— that, on the eighth day from the day of arrest, the Alfe- 
rez should be executed in the public square. 

It was not amongst the weaknesses of Catalina — who 
hudlio often inficted death, and, by her own journal, 
thought so lightly of inflicting it (unless under cowardly 
advantages) — to shrink from facing death in her own per- 


son. Many incidents in her career show the coolness and 
even gaiety with which, in any case where death was ap- 
parently inevitable, she would have gone forward to meet 
it. But in this case she had a temptation for escaping it, 
which was certainly in her power. She had only to reveal 
the secret of her sex, add the ridiculous witnesses, beyond 
whose testimony there was nothing at all against her, 
must at once be covered with derision. Catalina had some 
liking for fun; and a main inducement to this course was, 
that it would enable her to say to the judges, ‘^Now you 
see what old fools you’ve made of yourselves; every woman 
and child in Peru will soon be laughing at you.” I must 
acknowledge my own weakness; thk last temptation 1 
could not have withstood; flesh is weak, and fun is strong. 
But Catalina did. On consideration, she fancied that, 
although the particular motive for murdering Acosta would 
be dismissed with laughter, still this might not clear her 
of the murder, which, on some other motive, she might be 
supposed to have committed. But, allowing that she were 
cleared altogether, what most of all she feared was, that 
the publication of her sex would throw a reflex light upon 
many past transactions in her life; would instantly find 
its way to Spain; and would probably soon bring her 
within the tender attentions of the Inquisition. She kept 
Arm, therefore, to the resolution of not saving her life by 
this discovery. And so far as her fate lay in her own hands, 
she would to a certainty have perished — which to me seems 
a most fantastic caprice; it was to court a certain death and 
a present death, in order to evade a remote contingency of 
death. But even at this point how strange a case! A 
► woman falsely accused (because accused bj^ying witnesses) 
of an act which she really did commit ! And falsely accused 
of a true offence upon a motive that was impossible ! 


As the sun was setting upon the seventh day, when tho 
hours were numbered for the prisoner, there filed into her , 
cell four persons in religious habits. They came on the 
charitable mission of preparing the poor convict for death, 
patalina, however, watching all things narrowly, remarked 
something earnest and significant tn the eye of the leader, 
as of one who had some secret communication to make. 
She contrived, therefore, to clasp this man's hands, as if in 
the energy of internal struggles, and /te contrived to slip 
into hers the very smallest of billets from poor Juana. It 
contained, for indeed it could contain, only these three 
words — " Do not, confess. — J.” This one caution, so simple 
atnd so brief, proved a talisman. It did not refer to any 
confession of the crime; that would have been assuming 
what Juana was neither entitled nor disposed to assume; 
but it referred, in the technical sense of the church, to th^ 
act of devotional confession. Catalina found a single mo- 
ment for a glance at it; understood the whole; resolutely 
refused to confess, as a person unsettled in her religious 
opinions, that needed spiritual instructions; and the four 
monks withdrew to make their report. The principal 
judge, upon hearing of the prisoner’s impenitence, granted 
another day. At the end of l/tat, no change havjng oc- 
curred either in the prisoner’s mind or in the circumstances, 
he issued his warrant for the execution. Accordingly, as 
the sun went down, the sad procession formed within the 
prison. Into the great square of Tucuman it moved, 
where the scaffold had been ’ uilt, and the whole city had 
assembled for the spectacle. Batalina steadily ascended 
the ladder of the scaffold; even then she resolved not to 
benefit by revelling her sex; even then it was that she • 
expressed her scorn for the lubberly executioner’s mode 
of tying a knot; did it herself ir^a " ship-shape,” orthodox 



mannerj received in return the enthusiastic plaudits of the 
^ crowds and so far ran the risk of precipitating her fate; 
for the timid magistrates^ fearing a rescue from the fiery 
clamours of the impetuous mob> angrily ordered the exe- 
cutioner to finish the scene. The clatter of a galloping 
horse, however, at this instant forced them to pause. The 
crowd opened a road for thq agitated horseman, who was 
the bearer of an order from the President of La Plata to 
suspend the execution until two prisoners could be exa- 
mined. The whole was the work of the senora and her 
daughter. The elder lady, having gathered informatiofis 
against the witnesses, had pursued them to La Plata, 
There, by her influence with the governor, they were ar- 
rested, recognised as old malefactors, and in their terror 
had partly confessed their perjury, Catalina was removed 
to La Plata; solemnly acquitted, and, by the advice of the 
president, for the present the connection with the senora’s 
family was indefinitely postponed. 

22. — Kaii% Penultimate Adventure, 

Now was the last but-one adventure at hand that ever 
Catalina should see in the New World. Some fine sights 
she may yet see in Europe, but nothing after this (which 
she has recorded) in Ameiica. Europe, if it had ever heard 
of her name (as very shortly it shall hear). Kings, Pope, 
Cardinals, if they were but aware of her existence (which 
in six months they shall be), would thirst for an introduc- 
tion to our Catalina. You hardly thought now, reader, 
that she was such a great person, or anybody’s pet but 
yours and mine. Bless you, sir, she would scorn to look 
at U3» I tell you, that Eminences, Excellencies, Highnesses 
— ^nay, even Boyalties and Holinesses — are languishing to 
see her, or soon will be. But how can this come to pass^ 
D— ni. 



if she is to continue in her present obscurity? Certainly 
it cannot without some great peripetieia, or vertiginoul^ 
whirl of fortune; which, therefore, you shall now behold 
taking place in one turn of her next adventure. That shall 
let in a light, that shall throw back a Claude Lorraine 
gleam over all the past, able to make kings, that would 
have cared not for her under Peruvian daylight, come to 
glorify her setting beams. 

The scnora — and, observe, whatever kindness she does 
to Catalina speaks secretly from two hearts, her own and 
Juana’s — had, by the advice of Mr President Mendonia, 
given sufficient rponey for Catalina’s travelling expenses. 
So far well. But Mr M. chose to add a little codicil to 
this bequest of the senora’s, never suggested by her or by 
her daughter. Pray,” said this inquisitive president, who 
surely might have found business enough within his own 
neighbourhood — “pray, Senor Pietro Diaz, did you ever 
live at Conception? And were you ever acquainted there 
with Senor Miguel de Erauso? That man, sir, was my 
friend.” What a pity that on this occasion Catalina could 
not venture to be candid 1 What a capital speech it would 
have made to say, “ Friend were you ? I think you could 
hardly be that^ with seven hundred miles between you. 
But that man was my friend also; and, secondly, my 
brother. True it is I killed him. But if you happen to 
know that this was by pure mistake in the dark, what an 
old rogue you must be to throw that in my teeth, which is 
the affliction of my life ! ” Again, however, as so often in 
th^ same circumstances, Catalina thought that it would 
cause more ruin than it could heal to be candid; and, in- 
deed, if she w^re really P. I)%az^ Esq,, how came she to be 
brother to the late Mr Eiauso? On consideration, also, if 
she could not tell all, merely to have professed a fraternal 



connection which never was avowed by either whilst living 
together, would not have brightened the reputation of 
Catalina. Still, from a kindness for poor Kate, I feel un- 
charitably towards the president for advising Senor Pietro 
" to travel for his health.” What had he to do with people’s 
health 1 However, Mr Peter, as he had pocketed the se- 
nora’s money, thought it right to pocket also the advice that 
accompanied its payment. That he might be in a condi- 
tion to do so, he went off to buy a horse. On that errand, 
in all lands, for some reason only half explained, you must 
be in luck if you do not fall in, and eventually full out, 
with a knave. But on this particular day Kate wa^ in luck. 
For, beside money and advice, she obtained at a low rate a 
horse both beautiful and serviceable for a journey. To Paz 
it was, a city of prosperous name, that l^he cornet first 
moved. But Paz did not fulfil the promise of its name. 
For it laid the grounds of a feud that drove our Kate out 
of America. 

Her first adventure was a bagatelle, and fitter for a 
jest-book than for a serious history; yet it proved no jest 
either, since it led to the tnigedy that followed. Riding 
into Paz, our gallant standard-hearer and her bonny black 
horse drew all eyes, comme de raison^ upon their separate 
charms. This was inevitable amongst the indolent popu- 
lation of a Spanish town; and Kate was used to it. But, 
having recently had a little too much of the public atten- 
tion, she felt nervous on remarking two soldiers eyeing the 
handsome horse and the handsome rider, with an attention 
that seemed too earnest for mere ccstJietics, However, Kate 
was not the kind of person to let any thing^^d well on her 
spirits, especially if it took the shape of impudence; and, 
whbtling gaily, she was riding forward, when — who should 
cross her path but the Alcalde of Paz 1 Ah ! alcalde, joa 



see a person now that has a mission against you and al} 
that you inherit; though a mission known to herself as littm 
as to you. Good were it for you, had you never crossed 
the path of this Biscayan Alferez. The alcalde looked so 
^sternly, that Kate asked if his worship had any commands. 
“ Yes. These men,” said the alcalde, these two soldiers, 
say that this horse is stolen.” To one who had so nar-< 
rowly and so lately escaped the balcony witness and his 
friend, it was really no laughing matter to hear of new 
affidavits in preparation. Kate was nervous, but never 
disconcerted. In a moment she had twitched off a saddle- 
cloth on which she sat; and throwing it over the horse’s 
head, so as to cover up all between the ears and the mouth, 
she replied, That she had bought and paid for the horse 
at La Plata, jpt now, your worship, if this horse has 
really been stolen from these men, they must know well of 
which eye it is blind; for it can be only in the right eye or 
the left.” One of the soldiers cried out instantly that it was 
the left eye; but the other said, “No, no; you forget, it’s 
the right.” Kate maliciously, called attention to this 
little schism. But the men said, “ Ah, that was nothing 
— they were hurried; but now, on recollecting them- 
selves, they were agreed that it was the left eye.” — “ Did 
they stand to that!” — “ Oh yes, positive they were — left 
eye — left.” 

Upon which our Kate, twitching off the horse-cloth, said 
gaily to the magistrate, “ Now, sir, please to observe that 
this horse has nothing the matter with either eye.” And, 
■act, it was so. Upon that, his worship ordered his 
[guazils to apprehend the two witnesses,* who posted off 
to bread and "water, with other reversionary advantages; 
whilst Kate rode in quest of the best dinner that Paz could 



^Zj^Prepcaration for Katii Final Adventure in Peru. 

This alcalde’s acquaintance, however, was not destined 
to drop here. Something had appeared in the young 
Caballero’s bearing which made it painful to have addressed 
him with harshness, or for a moment to have entertained^ 
such a charge against such a person. He despatched his 
cousin, therefore, Don Antonio Calderon, to offer his apo- 
logies; and at the same time to request that the stranger, 
whose rank and quality he regretted not to have known, 
would do him the honour to come and dine with him. This 
explanation, and the fact that Don Antonio had already 
proclaimed his own position as cousin to the magistrate, 
and nephew to the Bishop of Cuzco, obliged Catalina to 
say, after thanking the gentlemen for their obliging atten- 
tions, I myself hold the rank of Alferez^ the service of 
his Catholic Majesty. I am a native of Biscay, and I am 
now repairing to Cuzco on private business.” — “ To Cuzco 1” 
exclaimed Antonio; "and you from dear lovely Biscay! 
How very fortunate ! jMy cousin is a Basque like you; 
and, like you, he starts for Cuzco to-morrow morning; so 
that, if it is agreeable to you, Senor Alferez, we will travel 
together.” It was settled that they should. To travel — 
amongst "balcony witnesses,” and anglers for "blind 
horses ” — not merely with a just man, but with the very 
abstract idea and riding allegory of justice, was too de- 
lightful to the storm- wearied cornet; and he cheerfully 
accompanied Don Antonio to the house of the magistrate, 
called Don Pedro de Chavarria. Distinguished was his 
reception; the alcalde personally renewed his regrets for 
the ridiculous scene of the two scampish oculists, and pre- 
sented Kate to his wife — a most splendid Andalusian 
beauty, to whom he had been married about a year. 

This lady there is a reason for describing; and the French 



reporter of Catalioa’s memoirs dwells upon tbo theme. She 
united^ he says, the sweetness of the German lady with the 
energy of the Arabian — a combination hard to judge of. 
As to her feet, he adds, I say nothing, for she had scarcely 
any at all. " Je ne parle point de ses pieds, ella rCm avail 
pi'esquepas^' “ Poor lady 1” says a compassionate rustic: ''no 
feet I What a shocking thing that so fine a woman should 
have been so sadly mutilated!” Oh, my dear rustic, you’re 
quite in the wrong box. The Frenchman moans this as the 
very highest compliment. Beautiful, however, she must have 
been; and a Cinderella, I hope, but still not a Cindcrellula, 
considering that she had the inimitable walk and step of 
Andalusian women, which cannot be accomplished without 
something of a proportionate basis to stand upon. 

The reason which there is (as I have said) for describing 
this lady, aris^^'out of her relation to the tragic events 
which followed. She, by her criminal levity, was the cause 
of all. And I must here warn the moralising blunderer of 
two errors that he is likely to make: 1st, that he is invited 
to read some extract from a licentious amour, as if for its 
own interest; 2dly, or on account of Donna Catalina’s me- 
moirs, with a view to relievo their too martial character. 
I have the pleasure to assure him of- his being so utterly in 
the darkness of error, that any possible change he can make 
in his opinions, right or left, must be for the better: he 
cannot stir, but he will mend, whi|jji is a delightful thought 
for the moral and blundering mind. As to the first point, 
what little glimpse he obtains of a licentious amour is, as 
c^urt of justic;e will sometimes show him such a glimpse, 
WK^ly to make intelligible the subsequent facts which dc- 
^;^cnd upon it.^ Secondly, as to the conceit that Catalina 
wished to embellish hei memoirs, understand that no such 
practice then existed — certainly not in Spanish literature. 



Her menioiva are electrifying by their facts; else, in the 
manner of telling these facts, they are systematically dry. 

But let us resume. Don Antonio Calderon was a hand- 
some, accomplished cavalier. And in the course of dinner 
Catalina was led to judge, from the behaviour to each other 
of this gentleman and the lady, the alcalde’s beautiful wife, 
that they had an improper understanding. This also she 
inferred from the furtive language of their eyes. Her 
wonder was, that the alcalde should bo so bliud; though 
upon that point she saw reason in a day or two to change 
her opinion. Some people see everything by affecting to 
see nothing. The whole affair, liovvcver, was nothing at all 
to her; and she would have dismissed it altogether from 
her thoughts, but for the dreadful events on the journey. 

This went on but slowly, however steadily. Owing to the 
miserable roads, eight hours a-day of trU^elling was found 
quite enough for man and beast; the product of which eight 
houi*s was from ten to twelve leagues, taking the league at 
2 J miles. On the last day but one of the journey, the tra- 
velling party, which was precisely the original dinner party, 
reached a little town ten leagues short of Cuzco. The 
corregidor of this place was a friend of the alcalde; and 
through his influence the party obtained better accommo- 
• dations than those which they had usually commanded in a 
hov61 calling itself a venta, or in a sheltered corner of a barn. 
The alcalde was to sle|]p at the corrdgidor’s house; the two 
young cavaliers, Calderon and our Kate, had sleeping-rooms 
at the public locanda; but for the lady was reserved a little 
pleasure-house in an enclosed garden. TJiis was a mere toy 
of a house; but the season being summer, and the house 
surrounded with tropical flowers, the lad^^ preferred it (in 
spite of its loneliness) to the damp mansion of the oflicial 
grai^ee, who, in her humble opinion, was quite os fusty 



as bis mansioD; and bis mansion not much less so than 

After dining gaily together at the locanda, and possibly 
taking a *^rise ” out of his worship the corr^gidor, as a 
repeating echo of Don Quixote (then growing popular in 
Spanish America), the young man Don Antonio, who was 
no young officer, and the young officer Catalina, who was 
no young man, lounged down together to the little pavi- 
lion in the flower-garden, with the purpose of paying their 
respects to the presiding belle. They were graciously re- 
ceived, and had the honour of meeting there his mustiness 
the alcalde, and his fustiness the corrdgidorj whose .con- 
versation ought surely to have been edifying, since it was 
anything but brilliant. How they got on under the weight 
of two such mufis, has been a mystery for two centuries. 
But they did to a' certainty, for the party did not break up 
till eleven. Tea and turn out ‘you could not call it; for 
there was the turn-out in rigour, but not the tea. One thing, 
however, Catalina by mere accident had an opportunity of 
observing, and observed with pain. The two official gentle- 
men, on taking leave, had gone down the steps into the 
garden. Catalina, having forgot her hat, went back into 
the little vestibule to look for it. There stood the lady and 
Don Antonio, exchanging a few final words (they were final) . 
and a few final signs. Amongst the last Kate observed dis- 
tinctly this, and distinctly she und^tood it. First of ali, 
by raising her forefinger, the lady drew Calderon’s attention 
to the act which followed as one of jiguificant pantomime; 
which done, she sijnffed out one of the candles. The young 
man answered it by a look of intelligence; and then all three 
passed down thi steps together. The lady was disposed to 
take the cool air, and accompanied them to the garden-gate; 
but, in passing down the walk, Catalina noticed a SQ^nd 



Cl-omened sign that all was not right. Two glaring eyes 
ahe distinguished amongst the shrubs for a moment, and a 
i*ustling immediately after. " What’s that?” said the lady; 
and Don Antonio answered, carelessly, " A bird flying out 
of the bushes.” But birds do not amuse themselves by 
• staying up to midnight; and birds do not wear rapiers. 

Catalina, as usual, had read everything. Not a wrinkle 
or a rustle was lost upon her. And, therefore, when she 
reached the locanda, knowing to an iota all that was coming, 
she did not retire to bed, but paced before the house. She 
had not long to wait: in fifteen minutes the door opened 
softly, and out stepped Calderon. Kate walked forward, 
and faced him immediately; telling him laughingly that it 
was not good for his health to go abroad on this night. 
The young man showed some impatienee; upon which, very 
seriously, Kate acquainted him with her suspicions, and with 
the certainty that the alcalde was not so blind as he had 
seemed. Calderon thanked her for the information; would 
be upon his guard; but, to prevent further expostulation, 
he wheeled round instantly into the darkness. Catalina 
was too well convinced, however, of the mischief on foot to 
leave him thus. She followed rapidly, and passed silently 
into the garden, almost at the same time with Calderon. 
Both took their stations behind trees; Calderon watching 
nothing but the burning candles, Catalina watching cir- 
cumstances to direct j^er movements. The candles burned 
brightly in the little pavilion. Presently one was extin- 
guished. Upon this, Calderon pressed forward to the 
steps, hastily ascended them, and passed^into the vestibule. 
Catalina followed on his traces. What succeeded was all 
one scene of continued, drdadful dumb^show; difierent 
passions of panic, or deadly struggle, or hellish malice, 
absolutely suffocated all articulate utterances. 



In the first moments a gurgling sound was heard^ as of 
a wild beast attempting vainly to yell over some creature 
that it was strangling. Next came a tumbling out at the 
door of one black mass, which heaved and parted at inter- 
vals into two figures, which closed, which parted again, 
which at last fell down the steps together. Then appeared • 
a figure in white. It was the unhappy Andalusian; and 
she, seeing the outline of Catalina’s person, ran up to her, 
unable to utter one syllable. Pitying the agony of her 
horror, Catalina took her within her own cloak, and carried 
her out at the garden gatft. Calderon had by this time 
died; and the maniacal alcalde had risen up to pursue his 
wife. But Kate, foreseeing what he would do, had stepped 
silently within the shadow of the garden wall. Looking 
down the road to the town, and seeing nobody moving, 
the maniac, for some purpose, went back to the house. 
This moment Kate used to recover the locandciy with the 
lady still panting in horror. What was to be done? To 
think of concealment in this little place was out of the ques- 
tion. The alcalde was a man of local power, and it was 
certain that he would kill his wife on the spot. Kate’s gene- 
rosity would not allow her to have any collusion with this 
murderous purpose. At Cuzco, the principal convent wtia 
ruled by a near relative of the Andalusian; and there she 
would find shelter. Kate therefore saddled her horse ra- 
I)idly, placed the lady behind, and rode off in the darkness. 

24.— A Steeple C.ase, 

About five mil^ out of the town their road was crossed 
by a torrent, over which they could not hit the bridge. 
/‘Forward!'* died the lady; "Oh, heavens! forward!” 
and Katg^ repeating the word to the horse, the docile crea- 
ture leaped down into the water. They were all sinking 



at first but haying its head free, the horse swam clear of 
all obstacles through the midnight darkness, and scrambled 
out on the opposite bank. The two riders were dripping 
from the shoulders downward. J3ut, seeing a light twink- 
ling from a cottage window, Kate rode up; obtaining a 
little refreshment, and the benefit of a fire, from a poor 
labouring man. From this man she also bought a warm 
mantle for the lady, who, besides her torrent bath, was 
dressed in a light evening robe, so that but for the horse- 
man’s cloak of Kate she would have perished. But there 
was no time to lose. They had already lost two hours 
from the consequences of their cold bath. Cuzco was still 
eighteen miles distant; and the alcalde’s shrewdness would 
at once divine this to be his wife’s mark. They remounted: 

^ very soon the silent night echoed the hoofs of a pursuing 
rider; and now commenced the most frantic race, in which 
each party rode as if the whole game of life were staked 
upon the issue. The pace was killing: and Kate has de- 
livered it as her opinion, in the memoirs which she wrote, 
that the alcalde was the better mounted. This may bo 
dpubted. And certainly Kate had ridden too many years 
in the Spanish cavalry, to have any fear of his worship’s 
horsemanship; but it was a prodigious disadvantage that 
her horse had to carry double; while the horse ridden by 
her opponent was one of those belonging to the murdered 
Don Antonio, and known to- Kate as a powerful animal. 
At length they had come within three miles of Cuzco. The 
road after this descended the whole way to the city, and in 
some places rapidly, so as to require n cool rider. Sud- 
denly a deep trench appeared traversing the whole extent 
of a broad heath. It was useless to e^de it. To have 
hesitated, was to be lost. Kate saw the necessity of clear- 
ing it; but she doubted much whether her poor exhausted 


horse, after twenty-one miles of work so severe, had strength 
for the eifort. However, the race was nearly finished; a 
score of dreadful miles had been accomplished; and Kate's 
maxim, which never yet had failed, both figuratively for life, 
and literally for the saddle, was — to ride at everything that 
showed a front of resistance. She did so now. Having 
come upon the trench rather too suddenly, she wheeled 
round for the advantage of coming down upon it with more 
impetus, rode resolutely at it, cleared it, and gained the 
. opposite bank. The hind feet of her horse were sinking 
. back from the rottenness of the ground ; but the strong sup- 
porting bridle-hand of Kate carried him forward; and in 
ten minutes more they would be in Cuzco. This being seen 
by the vengeful alcalde, who had built great hopes on the 
trench, he unslung his carbine, pulled up, and fired after the^ 
bonny black horse and its two bonny riders. But this vi- 
cious manoeuvre would have lost his worship any bet that 
he might have had depending on this admirable steeple- ' 
chase. For the bullets, says Kate in her memoirs, whistled 
round the poor clinging lady en croupe — luckily none struck 
her; but one wounded the horse. And that settled the 
odds. Kate now planted herself well in her stirrups to 
enter Cuzco, almost dangerously a winner; for the horse 
was so maddened by the wound, and the road so steep, that 
he went like blazes; and it really became difficult for Kate 
to guide him with any precision through narrow episcopal* 
paths. Henceforwards the wounded horse required unin- 
termitting attention; and yet, in the mere luxury of strife, 
it was impossible ^r Kate to avoid turning a little in her 
saijdle to see theAlcalde’s performance on this tight-rope 
<)|the trench. His worship's horsemanship being, perhaps, 

'' J?jpiwi)pa?;”--The roads around Cazco were made, and maiutaia^d, 
^der the patronage and control of the hisbop. 


ratber rusty, and he not perfectly acquainted with his horse, 
it would have been agreeable for him to compromise the 
case by riding round, or dismounting* But all that was im- 
possible. The job must be done. And I am happy to re- 
port, for the reader’s satisfaction, the sequel — so far as Kate 
could attend the performance. Gathering himself up for 
mischief, the alcalde took a mighty sweep, as if ploughing 
out the line of some vast encampment, or tracing the pom<e-> 
rium for some future Rome; then, like thunder and light- 
ning, with arms flying aloft in the air, down he came upon 
the trembling trench. But the horse refused the leap; to 
take the leap was impossible; absolutely to refuse it, the 
horse felt, was immoral; and therefore, as the only com- 
promise that his unlearned brain could suggest, he threw 
his worship right over his ears, lodging him safely in a sand- 
heap, that rose with clouds of dust and screams of birds into 
the morning air. Kate had now no time to send back her 
compliments in a musical halloo. The alcalde missed break- 
ing his neck on this occasion very narrowly; but* his neck 
was of no use to him in twenty minutes more, as the reader 
will find. Kate rode right onwards; and, coming in with 
a lady behind her, horse bloody, and pace such as no hounds 
could have lived with, she ought to have made a great sen- 
sation in Cuzco, But, unhappily, the people of Cuzco, the 
spectators that should have been, were fast asleep in bed. 

The steeplc-chaso into Cuzco had been a fine headlong 
thing, considering the torrent, the trench, the wounded 
horse, the lovely Andalusian lady, with her agonising fears, 
mounted behind Kate, together with «^e meek dove-like 
dawn: but the finale crowded togethe\the quickest suc- 
cession of changes that out of a melodrama ever can have 
been witnessed/ Kate reached the convent in safety; car- 
ried into the cloisters, and delivered like a parcel, the fair 


Andalusian. But to rouse the servants and obtain admis- 
sion to the convent caused a long delay; and on returning 
to the street through the broad gatewa;jj^ of the convent, 
whom should she face but the alcalde ! How he had escaped 
the trench, who can tell ? He had no time to write me- 
moirs; his horse was too illiterate. But he had escaped; 
temper not at all improved by that adventure, and now 
raised to a hell of malignity by seeing that he had lost his 
prey. The morning light showed him how to use his sword, 
and whom he had before him, and he attacked Kate with 
fury. Both were exhausted; and Kate, besides that she 
had no personal quarrel with the alcalde, having now ac- 
complished her sole object in saving the lady, would have 
been glad of a truce. She could with difficulty wield her 
sword: and the alcalde had so far the advantage, that he 
wounded Kate severely. That roused her ancient Biscayan 
blood; and she turned on him now with deadly determina- 
tion. At that moment in rode two servants of the alcalde, 
who took part with their master. These odds strengthened 
Kate’s resolution, but weakened her chances. Just then, 
however, rode in and ranged himself on Kate’s side, the ser- 
vant of the murdered Don Calderon. In an instant Kate 
had pushed her sword through the alcalde, who died upon 
the spot. In an instant the servant of Calderon had fled. 
In an instant the alguazils had come up. They and the 
servants of the alcalde pressed furiously on Kate, who was 
again fighting for her life with persons not even known to 
her by sight. Against such odds, she was rapidly losing 
ground; when, in instant, on the opposite side of the 
street, the great ^tes of the Episcopal Palace rolled open. 
Thither it was that Calderon’s se^vadt had fled. The bishop 
and his attendants hurried across. Senor Caballero,” said 
the bishop, " in the name of the Virgin, I enjoin you to sur- 



render your sword.” — “ My lord,” said Kate, " I dare not 
do it with so many enemies about me.” — “ But T,” replied 
the bishop, ** become answerable to the law for your safe 
keeping.” Upoif^which, with filial reverence, all parties 
dropped their swords. Kate being severely wounded, the 
bishop led her into his palace. In another instant came 
the catastrophe; Kate’s discovery could no longer be de- 
layed; the blood flowed too rapidly; and the wound was 
in her bosom. She requested ‘a private interview with the 
bishop; all was known in a moment; surgeons and attend- 
ants were suirilnoned hastily; and Kate had fainted. The 
good bishop pitied her, and had her attended in his palace; 
then removed to a convent; then to a second convent at 
Lima; and, after many months had passed, his report of 
the whole extraordinary case in all its details to the su- 
preme government at Madrid, drew from the king, Philip 
IV., and from the papal legate, an order that the nun 
should be transferred to Spain. 

25 . — St Sehasilan is finally Checkmated, 

Yes, at length the warrior lady, the blooming cornet — 
this nun that is so martial, this dragoon that is so lovely — 
must visit again the home of her childhood, which now for 
seventeen years she has not seen. All Spain, Portugal, 
Italy, rang with her adventures. . Spain, from north to 
south, w'as frantic with desire to behold her fiery child, 
whos'e girlish romance, whose patriotic heroism, electrified 
the national imagination. The King of Spain must kiss 
his faithful daughter, that would not si^or his banner to 
see dishonour. The Pope must kiss his ^(andering daugh- 
ter, that henceforwards will be a lamb travelling back 
into the Christian fold. Potentates so great as these, when 
they speak words of love, do not speak in vain. All was- 



forgiven; tbe sacrilege^ the bloodshed^ the flight, and the 
scorn of St Sebastian’s (consequently of St Peter’s) keys; 
the pardons were made out, were signed, lyere sealed; 
and the chanceries of earth were satisfiea. 

Ah ! what a day of sorrow and of joy was that one day, 
in the first week of November, 1624, when the returning 
Kate drew near to the shore of Andalusia; when descend- 
ing into the ship’s barge, she was rowed to the piers of 
Cadiz by bargemen in the* royal liveries; when she saw 
every ship, street, house, convent, church, crowded, as if 
on some mighty day of judgment, with huftau' faces, with 
men, with women, with children, all bending the lights of 
their flashing eyes upon herself 1 Forty myriads of people 
had gathered in Cadiz alone. All Andalusia had turned 
out to receive her. Ah ! what joy for Ji&r^ if she had not 
looked back to the Andes, to their dreadful summits, and 
their more dreadful feet. Ahl what sorrow, if she had 
not been forced by music, and endless banners, and the 
triumphant jubilations of her countrymen, to turn away 
from the Andes, and to fix her thoughts f6r the moment 
upon that glad tumultuous shore which she approached. 

Upon this shore stood, ready to receive her, in front of 
all this mighty crowd, the Prime Minister of Spain, that 
same Conde Olivarez, who but one year before had been 
so haughty and so defying to our haughty and defying 
Duke of Buckingham. But a year ago the Prince of 
Wales had been in Spain, seeking a Spanish bride, and 
he also was welcomed with triumph and great joy; but 
not with the hundredth part of that enthusiasm which now 
met the returnij(g nun. And Olivarez, that had spoken so 

rcjf^hly to the English duke, to ^er " was sweet as summer.”* 

. L-a — 

:[* Griffith in Shakspere, when Tmdioatio& in that immortal scene with 
; • Queen Catherine, Cardinal Wclsey. 



Through endless crowds of welcosiiiig compatriots ho 
conducted her to the king. The king folded her in his 
arms^ and could never be satisfied with listening to her. 
He sent for her continually to his presence; he delighted 
in her conversation^ so new^ so natural, so spirited; he 
settled a pension upon her (at that time of unprecedented 
amount); and by his desire, because the year 1G25 was a 
year of jubilee, she departed in a few months from Madrid 
to Rome. She went through Barcelona; there and every- 
where welcomed as the lady whom the king delighted to 
honour. She Jtravelled to Rome, and all doors flew open 
to receive her. She was presented to his Holiness, with 
letters from his most Catholic majesty. But letters there 
needed none. The Pope admired her as much as all before 
had done. He caused her to recite all her adventure#; 
and what he loved most in her account was the sincere 
and sorrowing spirit in which she described herself as 
neither better nor worse than she had been. Neither 
proud was Kate, nor sycophantishly and falsely humble. 
Urban VIIL it was then that filled the chair of St Peter, 
He did not neglect to raise his daughter’s thoughts from 
earthly things: he pointed her eyes to the clouds that 
were floating in mighty volumes above the dome of St 
Peter’s Cathedral; he told her what the cathedral had told 
her amongst the gorgeous clouds of the Andes and the 
solemn vesper lights — how sweet a thing, how divine a 
thing it was for Christ’s sake to forgive all injuries; and 
how he trusted that no more she would think of bloodshed; 
but that, if again she should suffer wrongs, she would re- 
sign all vindictive retaliation for them^to the hands of 
God, the final Avenger. 1 must also find aime to mention, 
although the press and the compositors are in a fury at my 
delays, that the Pope, in his farewell audience to his dear 




daughter^ whom he was to see no more, gave her a general 
license to wear henceforth in all countries — even in parti- 
bus Injidelium — a cavalry officer’s dress — boots, spurs, sabre; 
in fact, anything that she and the Horse Guards might 
agree upon. Consequently, reader, say not one word, nor 
suffer any tailor to say one word, or the ninth part of a 
word, against those Wellington trousers made in the 
chestnut forest; for, understanding that the papal indul- 
gence as to this point runs backwards as well as forwards, 
it sanctions equally those trousers in the forgotten rear, 
and all possible trousers yet to come. 

From Eome, Kate returned to Spain. She even went 
to St Sebastian’s — to the city, but — whether it was that 
her heart failed her or not — never to the convent. She 
foamed up and down; everywhere she was welcome — 
everywhere an honoured guest; but everywhere restless. 
The poor and humble never ceased from their admiration 
of her; and amongst the rich and aristocratic of Spain, with 
the king at their head, Kate found especial love from two 
classes of men. The cardinals and bishops all doated upon 
her — as their daughter that was returning. The military 
men all doated upon her — as their sister that was retiring. 

26 . — Farewell to the Daughter of St Sebastian! 

Now, at this moment, it has become necessary for mo to 
close, but I allow to the reader one question before laying 
down my pen. Come now, reader, be quick; " look sharp;” 
and ask what you have to ask; for in one minute and 
a-half I am going to write in capitals the word finis; after 
which, you kno^ 1 am not at liberty to add a syllable. It 
Wbuld be shamCful to do so; since that word Finis enters 
,1iS%o a secret covenant with the reader that he shall be mo- 
lested no more with words, small or great. Twenty to one, 



I guess what your question will be. You desire to ask 
me^ What became of Kate 9 What, was her endl 
Ah^ TCader I but^ if I answer that question, you will say 
I have not answered it. If I tell you thatb secret, you will 
say that the secret is still hidden. Yet, because I have 
promised, and because you will be angry if I do not, let 
me do my best. After ten years of restlessness in Spain, 
with thoughts always turning back to the dreadful Andes, 
Kate heard of an expedition on the point of sailing to 
Spanish America: All soldiers knew her, so that she had 
information of everything which stirred in camps. Men 
of the highest military rank were going out with the ex- 
pedition; but Kate was a sister everywhere privileged; 
she was as much cherished and as sacred, in the eyes of 
every brigade or teriia, as their own regimental colours; 
and every member of the staff, from the highest to the 
lowest, rejoiced to hear that she would join their mess on 
board ship. This ship, with others, sailed; whither finally 
bound, T really forget. But, on reaching America, all the 
expedition touched at Vera Cruz, Thither a great crowd 
of the military went on shore. The leading officers made 
a separate party for the same purpose. Their intention 
was, to have a gay, happy dinner, after their long confine- 
ment to a ship, at the chief hotel; and happy in perfection 
the dinner could not be, unless Kate would consent to join 
it. She, that was ever kind to brother soldiers, agreed to 
do so. She descended into the boat along with them, and 
in twenty minutes the boat touched the shore. All the 
bevy of gay laughing officers, junior ^d senior, like so 
many schoolboys let loose from 8chool,^mped on shore, 
and walked hastily, as their time was limited, up to the 
hotel. Arriving there, all turned round in eagerness, 
saying, “Where is our dear Kate?” Ah, yes, my dear 



JKate, at that solemn moment, M^liere, indeed, were you% 
She had, beyond all doubt, taken her scat in the b^t: that 
was' certain, though nobody, in the general confusion, was 
certain of haying seen her actually step ashore. The sea 
was searched for her — the forests were ransacked. But 
the sea did not give up its dead, if there indeed she lay; and 
the forests made no answer to the sorrowing hearts which 
sought her amongst them. Have I never formed a conjec- 
ture of my own upon the mysterious fate which thus sud- 
denly enveloped her, and hid her in darkness for ever? 
Yes, I have. But it is a conjecture too dim and unsteady 
to be worth repeating. Her brother soldiers, that should 
naturally have had more materials for guessing than my- 
self, were all lost in sorrowing perplexity, and could never 
arrive even at a plausible conjecture. 

That happened two hundred and twenty- one years ago ! 
And here is the biief upshot of all : — This nun sailed from 
Spain to Peru, and she found no rest for the sole of her foot. 
This nun sailed back from Peru to Spain, and she found no 
rest for ^he agitations of her heart. This nun sailed again 
from Spain to America, and she found — the rest which all 
of us find. But where it was, could never be made known 
to the father of Spanish camps, that sat in Madrid; nor to 
Kate’s spiritual father, that sat in Borne. Known it is to^ 
the great Father of all, that once whispered to Kate on the 
Andes; but else it has been a secret for more than two cen- 
turies; and to man it remains a secret for ever and ever 1 


There are some narratives, which, though pure fictions from first 
to last, counterfeit so vividly the air of grave realities, that, if de- 
liberately offered for such, they would fora time impose upon every- 
body. In the opposite scale there are other narratives, which, 
whilst rigorously true, move amongst characters and scenes so re- 
mote from our ordinary experience, and through a state of society 
so favourable to an adventurous cast of incidents, that they would 
everywhere pass for romances, if severed from the documents which 
attest their fidelity to facts. In the former class stand the admirable 
novels of Pefoej and, on a lower range within the same category, 
the inimitable ‘‘Vicar of Wakefield;” upon which last novel, 
without at all designing it, I once became the author of the follow- 
ing instructive experiment. I had given a copy of this little novol 
to a beautiful girl of seventeen, the daughter of a ^statesman in 
Westmoreland, not designing any deception (nor so much as any con- 
cealment) with respect to the fictitious character of the incidents and 
of the actors in that famous tale. Mere accident it was that had in- 
*tercepted those explanations as to the extent of fiction in these points 
which in this case it would have been so natural to make. Indeed, 
considering the exquisite verisimilitude of the work meeting with 
such absolute inexperience in the reader, it ffas almost a duty to 
have made them. This duty, howqver, somethdng had caused me to 
forget; and when next I saw the young mountifineer, I forgot that 
I /uid forgottbn it Consequently, at first I was perplexed by the 
unfaltering gravity with which my fair young friend spoke of Pr 



Primrose, of Sophia and her sister, of Squiro Thornhill, &c., as real 
and probably living personages, who could sue and be sued. It ap- 
peared that this artless young rustic, who had never heard of novels 
and romances as a bare possibility amongst all the shameless devices 
of London swindlers, had read with religious fidelity every word ot 
this tale, so thoroughly life-like, surrendering her perfect faith and 
her loving sympathy to the different persons in the tale and the 
natural distresses in which they are involved, without suspecting 
for a moment that, by so much as a breathing of exaggeration or 
of embellishment, the pure gospel truth of the narrative could have 
been sullied. She listened in a kind of breathless stupor to my 
frank explanation — that not part only, but the whole, of this na- 
tural tale was a pure invention. Scor;i and indignation flashed 
from her eyes. She regarded herself as one who had been hoaxed 
and swindled; begged me to take back the book; and never again, 
to the cud of her life, could endure to look into the book, or to be 
reminded of that criminal imposture which Dr Oliver Goldsmith 
had practised upon her youthful credulity. 

In that case, a book altogether fabulous, and not meaning to offer 
itself for anything else, had been read as genuine history. Here, 
on the other hand, the adventures of the Spanish Nun, which, in 
every detail of time and place have since been sifted and authen- 
ticated, stood a good chance at one period of being classed as the 
most lawless of romances. It is, indeed, undeniable — and this arises 
as a natural result from the bold adventurous character of the 
heroine, and from the unsettled state of society at that period in 
Spanish America — that a reader, the most credulous, would at times 
be startled with doubts upon what seems so unvarying a tenor of 
danger and lawless violence. But, on the other hand, it is also* 
undeniable that a reader, the most ob^ tinatcly sceptical, would be 
equally startled in the very opposite direction, on remarking that 

the incidents are fan from being such as a romance-writer would 
bav^43^n likely tc^nvent; since, if striking, tragic, and even ap- 
|)^(ing, they are al times repulsive. And it seems evident, that, 

Jp^ce putting himself to the cost o« a wholesale fiction, the writei 
^ould have used liis privilege more freely for his own advantage. 



Whereas the author of these memoirs clearly writes under the 
coercion and restraint of a notorious reality, that would not suffer 
him to ignore or to modify the leading facts. Then, as to the ob- 
jection that few people or none have an experience presenting such 
uniformity of perilous adventure, a little closer attention shows that 
the experience in this case is not uniform; and so far otherwise, that 
a period of several years in Kate’s South American life is confessedly 
suppressed; and on no other ground whatever, than that this long 
parenthesis is not adventurous, not essentially differing from the 
monotonous character of ordinary Spanish life. 

Suppose the case, therefore, that Kate’s memoirs had been 
thrown upon the world with no vouchers for their authenticity 
beyond such internal presumptions as would have occurred to 
thoughtful readers, when reviewing the entire succession of inci- 
dents, I am of opinion that the person best qualified by* legal 
experience to judge of evidence would finally have pronounced a 
favourable award; since it is easy to understand, that in a world so 
vast as the Peru, the Mexico, the Chili, of Spaniards during the 
first quarter of the seventeenth century, and under the slender modi- 
fication of Indian manners as yet effected by the papal Christianisa- 
tion of these countries, and in the neighbourhood of a river-system 
so awful — of a mountain-system so unheard-of in Europe, there 
would probably, by blind, unconscious sympathy, grow up a tendency 
to lawless and gigantesque ideals of adventurous life; under which, 
united with the duelling code of Europe, many things would become 
trivial and commonplace experiences that to us home-bred English 
musas colimus severiores'^) seem monstrous and revolting. 

Left, therefore, to itself, my belief is, that the story of the Mili- 
tary Nun would have prevailed finally against the demurs of the 
sceptics. However, in the meantime, all such demurs were sud- 
denly and officially silenced for ever. Soon after the publication of 
Kate’s memoirs, in what you may call an carlfi^stageof herft^drar^ 
career, though two centuries after persorud d^reer had closed, a 
regular controversy arose upon the degree of credit due to these ex- 
traordinary confessions (such they may be called) of the poor con- 
science-haunted nun. Whether these in Kate’s original MS, were 



entitled “ Autobiographic Sketches,” or Selections Grave and Gay,” 
from the military eicperiences of a Nun, or possibly The Confessions 
of a Biscayan Fire-Bater is more than 1 know*. B^o matter: con- 
fessions they were; and confessions that, when at length published, 
were absolutely mobbed and hustled by a gang of misbelieving ( i, e., 
miscrearU ) critics. And this fact is most remarkable, that the person 
who originally headed the incredulous party — ^viz., Senor De Ferrer, a 
learned Castilian — was the very same who finally authenticated, by 
docurnentary evidence, the extraordinary narrative in those parts 
which had most of all invited scepticism. The progress of the dis- 
pute threw the decision at length upon the archives of the Spanish 
Marine. Those for the southern ports of Spain had been transferred, 
I believe, from Cadiz and St Lucar to Seville; chiefly, perhaps, 
through the confusions incident to the two French invasions of 
Spain in our own day [1st, that under Napoleon; 2dly, that under 
the Due d’Angoul^me]. Amongst these archives, subsequently 
amongst those of Cuzco in South America; 3dly, amongst the re- 
cords of some royal courts in Madrid; 4thly, by collateral proof from 
the Papal Chancery; Sthly, from Barcelona — have been drawn to- 
gether ample attestations of all the incidents recorded by Kate. 
The elopement from St Sebastian’s, the doubling of Cape Horn, the 
shipwreck on the coast of Peru, the rescue of the royal banner from 
the Indians of Chili, the fatal duel in the dark, the astonishing pas- 
sage of the Andes, the tragical scenes at Tucuman and Cuzco, the 
return to Spain in obedience to a royal and a papal summons, the 
visit to Rome and the interview with the pope; finally, the return 
to South America, and the mysterious disappearance at Vera Cruz, 
upon which no light was ever thrown — all these capital heads of the 
narrative have been established beyond the reach of scepticism : and, 
in consequence, the story was soon ‘^^ter adopted as historically esta- 
blished, and was reported at length by journals of the highest 
credit in Spain and Germany, and by a Parisian journal so cautious 
and^ distinguish^ for its-ability as the “ Revue des Deux Mondes ” 
X^ust not leave xhe impressjon upon my readers, that this com • 
plex body of documentary evidences has been searched and ap- 
.praised by mysclfi Frankly 1 acknowledge that, on the sole occa- 



9 > 

sion when any opportunity offered itself for such a labour, I shrank 
from it as too fatiguing — and also as superfluous; since, if the proofs 
had satisfied the compatriots of Catalina, who came to the investi- 
gation with hostile feelings of partisanship, and not dissembling 
their incredulity, armed also (and in Mr De Ferrer^s case conspicu- 
ously armed) with the appropriate learning for giving effect to this 
incredulity — it could not become a stranger to suppose himself 
qualified for disturbing a judgment that had^ been so deliberately 
delivered. Such a tribunal of native Spaniards being satisfied, there 
was no further opening for demur. The ratification of poor Kate’s 
memoirs is now therefore to be understood as absolute, and without 
reserve. • 

This being stated — viz., such an attestation from competent 
authorities to the truth of Kate’s narrative, as may save all readers 
from my fair Westmoreland friend’s disaster — it remains to give such 
an answer, as without further research can be given, to a question 
pretty sure of arising in all reflective readers’ thoughts — ^viz.. Does 
there anywhere survive a portrait of Kate ? I answer — and it would 
be both mortifying and perplexing if I could not — Tes, One such 
portrait there is confessedly; and seven years ago this was to be 
found at Aix-la-Chapelle, in the collection of Herr Sempeller. The 
name of the artist I am not able to report; neither can I say 
whether Herr Sempeller’s collection still remains intact, and re- 
mains at Aix-la-Chapelle, 

But inevitably to most readers, who review the circumstances of 
a case so extraordinary, it will occur, that beyond a doubt man^/ 
portraits of the adventurous nun must have been executed. To have 
affronted the wrath of the Inquisition, and to have survived such 
an audacity, would of itself be enough to found a title for the mar- 
tial nun to a national interest. It is true that Kate had not taken 
the veil; she had stopped short of the deadliest crime known to the 
Inquisition; but still her transgressions were n\ch as to require a 
special indulgence; and this indulgence was grat^ted by a pope to 
the intercession of a king — the greatest then reigning. It was a 
favour that could not have been aaked by any greater man in this 
world, nor granted by any less. Had no other distinction settled 

E— HI. 



upon Kate, this would have been enough to fix the gaze of her own 
nation. But her whole life constituted Kate’s supreme distinction. 
There can be no doubt, therefore, that, from the year 1624 (i. e.y the 
last year of our Janies L), she became the object of an admiration in 
her own country that was almost idolatrous. And this admiration 
was not of a kind that rested upon any partisan-schism amongst her 
countrymen. So long as it was kept alive by her bodily presence 
amongst them, it was an admiration equally aristocratic and po- 
pular, shared alike by the rich and the poor — by the lofty and the 
humble. Great, therefore, would be the demand for her portrait. 
There is a tradition that Velasquez, who had in 1623 executed a 
portrait of Charles I. (then Prince of Wales), was amongst those 
who in the three or four following years ministered to this demand. 
It is believed also, that in travelling from Genoa and Florence to 
Rome, she sat to various artists, in order to meet the interest about 
herself already rising amongst the cardinals and other dignitaries of 
the Romish Church. It is probable, therefore, that numerous pic- 
tures of Kate are yet lurking both in Spain and Italy, but not known 
as such. For, as the public consideration granted to her had grown 
out of merits and qualities purely personal, and were kept alive by 
no locator family memorials rooted in the land, or surviving herself, 
it was inevitable that, as soon as she herself died, all identification 
of her portraits would perish: and the portraits would thencefor- 
wards be confounded with the similar memorials, past all numbering, 
which every year accumulates as the wrecks from household remem- 
brances of generations that are passing or passed, that are fading or 
faded, that are dying or buried. It is well, therefore, amongst so 
many irrecoverable ruins, that, in the portrait at Aix-la-ChapclIe, we 
still possess one undoubted representation (and therefore in some 
degree a means for identifying oth^/ representations) of a female so 
memorably adorned by nature; gifted with capacities so unparalleled 
both of doing and ^flfering; who lived a life so stormy, and perished 
,b7 a fate so unse^chably mysterious. 


I TAKE it for granted that all people of education will 
aclcnowlerfge some interest in the personal history of Im- 
manuel Kant, however little their taste or their opportu- 
nities may have brought them aequainted with the history 
of Kant’s philosophical opinions. A great man, though in 
an unpo2)ular path, must always be an object of liberal 
curiosity. To suppose a reader thoroughly indifferent to 
Kant, is to suppose him thoroughly unintellectual; and, 
therefore, though in reality he should happen not to regard 
Kant with interest, it would still be amongst the lict^ns 
of courtesy? to presume that he did. On this principle I 
make no apology to any reader, philosophic or not, Goth 
or Vandal, Hun or Saracen, for detaining him upon a short 
sketch of Kant’s life and domestic habits, drawn from the 
authentic records of his friends and pupils.* It is true 
that, without any illiberality on the part of the public, the 
works of Kant are not, in this country, regarded with the 
same interest which has gathered about his name; and this 
may be attributed to three causes — first, %to the language 
in which those works are written;* secono ly, to the sup- 

* ** The language” ko. : — viz., Qerm&n. For it was a significant fact 
“•significant of that great rerolution in conscious dignity which, earV 
in the eighteenth century, had begun to dawn upon the German race— 



posed obscurity of the philosophy which they deliver, whe- 
ther inalienable, or due to Kant’s particular mode of ex- 
pounding it; thirdly, to tlie unpopularity of all speculative 
philosophy whatsoever, no matter how treated, in a coun- 
try where the structure and tendency of society impress 
upon the whole activities of the natyn a direction almost 

that Leibnitz, the forerunner of Kant, hohiing the same sintion in phi- 
losophy for the fifty years between 1666 and 1716, which Kant held for 
the fifty years between 1760 and 1800, wrote chiefly in French; and, if 
at any time not in French, then in Latin; whereas Kant wrote almost 
exclusively in German. And why? Simply because all the sovereign 
princes in Germany, that found nothing amiss in German dollars and 
crowns, drew their little Aulic machinciics in so servile a spirit of mi- 
micry from France, that the very breath of their nostrils was the foul, 
heated atmosphere of Versailles, 'Gaid on” (as our water companies say) 
at second-hand for German use. The air of German forests which once 
Arininius had found good enough, the language of Germany that Luther 
had made resonant as a trumpet of resurrection — these were not super- 
fine enough for the Serenminii of Germany. Even Fritz the unique 
(Fi^ederich der Einziger)^ which was the German name, the caressing 
name, for the man whom in Engl.*ind we call the great king of Prussia, 
the hero of the Seven Years’ War, the friend and also the enemy of Vol- 
taire, in this respect was even more abject than his predecessors. But, 
if he did not alter, Germany did. The great power and compass of the 
German language, which the vilest of anti-national servilities obscured 
to the eyes of those that occupied thrones, had gradually revealed them- 
selves to the popular mind of Germany, as it advanced in culture. And 
thence it happened that Kant’s writings were almost exclusively in Ger- 
man; or, if in any case not in German, then in Latin, but Latin only 
upon an academic necessity. This prosperity, however, of tlie German 
language proved the misfortune of Kant’s philosophy. For many years 
his philosophy was accessible only to those who read German, an accom- 
plishment exceedingly rare down to the era of Waterloo; or, if in any quar- 
ter not rare (as amongst the travellir agents of great commercial houses 
that exported to Germany, and amongst the clerks of bankers), not likely 
to be disposable for purposes of literature or philosophy. Sinceihen, Kant 
translate^hto Latin— viz., by Born, whose version I have not 
and, as results Kant’s cardinal work, admirably by Fhiseldek, a 
;^nish professor; and it is possible. by others unknown to myself. He 
also been translated into English; but, if the slight fragment once 
communicated to myself were at all a fiiir representative specimen of the 
prevailing stylo, not in such English as could have much clianoe of win* 



exclusively practical.* But, whatever may have been the 
immediate fortunes of his writings, no man of enlightened 
curiosity will regard the author himself without something 
of a profounder interest. Measured by one teat of power 
— viz, by the number of books written directly for or 
against himself, to say nothing of those which indirectly 

ning a favourable audience. To do that, however, it maybe said, would 
be beyond all powers that ever yet were lodged in any language wielded 
by any artist. And, if so, does it not seem invidious to tax this parti- 
cular version, however unskilful, with a failure tliat must for all substan- 
tial results have attended any possible version, though in the highest 
degree judicious and masterly? I answer, that no doul^t mere skill in 
the treatment of language could not avail to popularise a philosophy 
essentially obscure.* Popular the Transcendental Philosophy cannot be. 
That is not its destiny. But, in those days, when as yet German was a 
scaled language, a judicious version might have availed to disarm this 
philosophy of all that is likely to prove offensive at first sight. The fe>^ 
who in any nation are capable of mastering it might have been concili- 
ated; at any rate, they did not need to find anything primd facie repul- 
sive, or gratuitously repulsive iu its diction; and, here as in other cases, 
these few would gradually have diffused much of what was chiefly valu- 
able amongst the many. W ere it only as to logic and as to ethics, there 
would have arisen the benefits of a new and severer legislation. Logic, 
with its proper field and boundaries more rigorously asceitaincd, would 
have re-entered upon its rights; renouncing a jurisdiction not its own, it 
would have wielded with more authority and effect that which is. And 
ctliics, braced up into stoical vigour by renouncing all effeminate dally- 
iugs with JEudfemonism, would indirectly have co-oparated with the ^ 
sublime ideals of Christianity. 

*** Exclusively practical At the time when this was written, it 
might be regarded as nearer to the truth than now, and so far less need- 
ing an apology. But, on closer consideration, I doubt whether at any 
period this wero true in the degree assumed by rash popular judgments. 
The speoulative philosophy of England has at all times tended to hide 
itself in theology. In her divinity lurks her philosophy. For more 
than three centuries, the divinity of England has formed a magnificent 
section in the national literature. In reality there are but two leagied 
churches in the world — not more, therefore, than two systematic theo- 
logies — first, the Papal; secondly, amongst Protestant churches, the 
Anglican. But is there not also the German? Yes, there is also a Ger- 
man theology, and has been any time these forty years. And with 
respect to this, which styles itself (upon mixed motives of cowardice and 



he has modified — there is no philosophic writer whatso- 
ever, if we except Aristotle, Des Cartes, and Locke, .who can 
pretend to approach Kant in the extent or in the depth 
of influence which he has exercised over the minds of men. 
Such being his claims upon our notice, I repeat that it is 
no more than a reasonable act of respect for the reader, 

self-interest) a Protestant theology, it is quite sufficient to say, that it 
presents no wnity of any kind, good or had. It is a distracted, fragmen- 
tary thing; 'without internal cohesion; offering no systematic whole; 
starting from no avowed creed, and controlled by no common principles 
of interpretation. But is it not a learned theology; and, secondly, a 
Protestant theology] As to the first question, any candid man will 
mawer by distinguishing —if philology, and that alone, were equal to the 
task of building up a systematic divinity — then is the German in a su- 
preme degree learned. But 1 deny that the enormous labours of three 
and a-half centuries, accumulated by our Anglican Church, by the Gal- 
Kcan Church, by various branches of the Romish Church more strictly 
Papal, can be resolved into mere philology. All studies connected with 
language having become in our day more critically exact, and with 
great advantages for accurate research, so far the German is seen under 
a favourable light. But, in the meantime, its labours of thought and 
far-stretching meditative collation are as children’s play, by comparison 
-with the colossal contributions of our own heroic worlunen in that field. 
As to the second question, the answer is short and peremptory. Is it 
not Protestant] No; sans phrasCj no. Neither could it ever have been 
fancied such, unless under the following fallacy. Tho characteristic 
principle of Protestantism is supposed to be the right of private judg- 
^ ment: without scruple, therefore, it is usual to say, all Protestants exer- 
cise the right of private judgment. Upon which comes some German, 
who reverses tho rule— saying, all men, exercising the right of private 
judgment, are Protestants. Under that courteous indulgence, German 
theology is Protestant, for assuredly thereas no want of private judgment 
or audacity. But, in the meantime, t' e value or efficacy of such a desig- 
nation has exhaled into smoke. That cannot be Protestant which assumes 
by fits all possible relations to all conceivable subjects. It is enough to 
say, that the Gcrmaif theology is altogether at sea, drifting in any chance . 
dir^tion, according to the impulse which it receives: sometimes obedient 
io a random caprice in the individual. writer, sometimes to a momentary 
fashion of thought in the agei Tt presents almost as many incoherent 
theologies as there are of individual authors. And finally, under any ' 
extremity of feud and schism, there is no recognised court (I speak figu- 
ratively, meaning no intellectual tribunal) ffir arbitration or appeal. 



to presume in him so much interest about Kant as will 
justify this brief memorial sketch of his life and habits. 

Immanuel Kant,* the second of six children, was born 
at Kdnigsberg, in Prussia (a city at that time containing 
about fifty thousand inhabitants), on the 22d of April, 
1724. His parents were people of humble rank, and not 
rich even for their own station, but able (with some assist- 
ance from a near relative, and with a trifie in addition 
from a gentleman who esteemed them for their piety and 
domestic virtues) to give their son Immanuel a liberal 
education. He was sent, when a child, to a charity school; 
and in the year 1732 was removed to the Koyal (or Fre- 
derician) Academy. Here he studied the Greek and Latin 
classics, and formed an intimacy with one of his school- 
fellows, David Ruhnken (afterwards so well known to 
scholars under his Latinised name of Euhnkeuius), which 
lasted until the death of the latter. In 1737, Kant lost 
his mother, a woman of exalted character, and of intellec- 
tual accomplishments beyond her rank, who contributed 
to the future eminence of her illustrious son by the direc- 
tion which she impressed upon his youthful thoughts, and 
by the elevated morals to which she trained him. Kant 
never spoke of her to the end of his life without the utmost 
tenderness, or without earnest acknowledgment of his obli- 
gations to her maternal care. 

In 1740, at Michaelmas, he entered the University of 
Kdnigsberg. In 1746, when about twenty-two years old, 
he wrote his first work, upon a question partly raathema- 

• By the paternal side, the femily of Kant was of Scotch derivation; 
and hence it is that the name was written by Kant the &.thcT—Oant, 
that being a Scotch name, and still to be found in Scotland. But Im- 
manuel substituted a AT for a C, in order to adapt it better to the analo- 
gies of the German language. 



tical and partly pbilosopliic — viz., the valuation of living 
forces. The question concerned had been first moved by 
Leibnitz, in opposition to tho Cartesians; a new law of 
valuation, and not merely a new valuation, was insisted 
on by Leibnitz; and the dispute was supposed to have 
been here at last and finally settled, after having occupied 
most of the great European mathematicians for more than 
half-a-century. Kant’s ‘‘Dissertation” was dedicated to 
the King of Prussia, 'but never reaLchcd him; having, in 
fact (though printed, I believe), never been published.* 
From this time till 1770, Kant supported himself as a 
private tutor in different families, or by giving private 
lectures in Konigsberg, especially to military men on the 
art of fortification. In 1770, he was appointed to the 
Chair of Mathematics, which he exchanged soon after for 
that of Logic and Metaphysics. On this occasion he deli- 
vered an inaugural disputation (De Mundi Sensibilis atque 
Intelligibilis Formd et Prinripiis), which is remarkable for 
containing the first germs f of the Transcendental Philo- 
sophy. In 1781, he published his great work, the “Kri- 
tik der Eeinen Vernunft,” or “Critical Investigation of the 
Pure Reason.” On February 12, 1801, he died. 

These are the great epochs of Kant’s life. But his was 
a life remarkable, not so much for its incidents, as for the 
purity and philosophic dignity of its daily tenour; and of 

* To tins circumstance we must at ibuto its beiog so little known 
amongst the philosophers and mathematicians of foreign countries, and 
also the fact that D'Alembert, whose philosophy was miserably below Ins 
mathematics, many ye^^s afterwaids still continued to represent the dis> 
a verbal one. 

^ The first get me.” — Such, I believe, is the prevailing phrase, but in 
^jpwy much more than germs. To me this memorable essay seems 
^Xitber to resemble an abstract of the ** Eritik der Keinen Vemunft,” 
'firom a dim recollection of it, than a fiireshadowing of its outline by any 
effort of imperfect preconception. 



this Ue best impression will be obtained from Wasianski's 
memorials — checked and supported by the collateral testi- 
monies of Jachmann, Eink, Borowski^ and others. We see 
him here struggling wdth the misery of decaying faculties, 
and with the pain, depression, and agitation of two different 
complaints — one affecting his stomach, and the other his 
head; over all which the benignity and nobility of his na- 
ture mount, as if on wings, victoriously to the last. The 
principal defect of this and all other memoirs of Kant is, 
that they report too little of his conversation and opinions. 
And perhaps the reader will be disposed to complain, that 
some of the notices arc too minute and circumstantial, so 
as to be at one time undignified, and at another unfeeling. 
With respect to the first objection, it may be answered, 
that biographical gossip of this sort, and ungentlemanly 
scrutiny into a man’s private life, though not what a man 
of honour would allow himself to write, may be read with- 
out blame; and, where a great man is the subject, some- 
times with advantage. As to the other objection, I should 
hardly know how to excuse Mr Wasianski for kneeling at 
the bedside of his dying friend, in order to record, with the 
accuracy of a short-hand reporter, the last flutter of Kant’s 
pulse, and the struggles of nature labouring in extremity, 
except by supposing that his idealised conception of Kant, 
as of one belonging to all ages, seemed in ^is mind to 
transcend and swallow up the ordinary restraints of human 
sensibility; and that, under this impression, he gave i/iat 
to his sense of a public duty which, it may be hoped, he 
would willingly have declined on the impulse of his private 
affections. Now let us begin, premising that for the most 
part it is Wasianski who speaks.* 

* is WasiaTisi'i wlio speaks t ** — ThU notification, however, must 
not be too rigorously interpreted. Undoubtedly it would be wrong, and 




My knowledge of Professor Kant began long before the 
period to which this. little memorial of him chiefly refers. 
In the year 1773 or 1774, I cannot exactly say which, I 
attended his lectures. Afterwards I acted as his amanu- 
ensis; and in that office was naturally brought into a 
closer connection with him than any other of the students; 
so that, without any request on my part, he granted me 
a general privilege of free access to his class-room. In 
1780 I took orders, and withdrew myself from all connec-'* 
tion with the university. I still continued, however, to 
reside in Kdnigsberg; but wholly forgotten, or at any rate 
wholly unnoticed, by Kant. Ten years later (that is to say, 
in 1790), I met him by accident at a gay festal party; in 
fact it was a wedding party, and the wedding was that of 
a Konigsberg professor. At table, Kant distributed his 
conversation and attentions pretty generally; but after 
the entertainment, when the company had dispersed into 
separate groups, he came and seated himself obligingly by 
my side. At that time I was a florist — an amateur, I 
mean, from the passion I had for flowers; upon learning 
which he talked of my favourite pursuit, and with very 
extensive information. In the course of our conversation, 
I was surprised to find that he was perfectly acquainted 

of evil example, to distribute and confound the separate responsibilities 
of men. When the opinions inyolvo ’ oportant moral distinctions, by all 
means let every man hang by his own hook, and answer for no more than 
be has solemnly undertaken for. But, on the other hand, it would be 
most annoying to the trader, if all the petty recollections of some ten or 
^QnkMeen men reporting upon Kant were individually to be labelled each 
%ith its separate certificate of origin and ownership. WasiansH loquitur 
may be regarded as the running title: but it is not, therefore, to bo 
understood that Wosianski is always responsible for each particular 
opinion or fact reported, unless where it is liable to doubt or controversy. 
In that case, the responubility is cautiously discriminated and restricted* 



With, all the circumstances of my situation. He reminded 
mo of our previous connection; expressed his satisfaction 
at finding that I was hj^ppy; and was so good as to desire 
that, if my engagements allowed me, I would now and 
then come and dine with him. Soon after this, he rose to 
take his leave; and, as our roads lay in the same direction, 
he proposed to me that 1 should accompany him home. 
I did So; and then received an invitation for the next 
week, with a general invitation for every week after, and 
permission to name my own day. At first I found it diffi- 
cult to account for the distinction»with which Kant had 
treated me; and I conjectured that some obliging friend 
might have spoken of me, in bis hearing, somewhat more 
advantageously than belonged to my humble pretensions; 
but more intimate experience has convinced me, that he 
was in the habit of making continual inquiries after the 
welfare of his former pupils, and was heartily rejoiced to 
hear of their prosperity. So that it appeared I was wrong 
in thinking he had forgotten me. 

This revival of my intimacy with Kant coincided pretty 
nearly, in point of time, with a complete change in his own 
domestic arrangements. Up to this period it had been 
his custom to dine at a table (Vhdte, But he now began to 
keep house himself; and every day invited a few friends to 
dine with him, so as to fix the party (himself included) at 
three for the lower extreme, and at n^e for the upper, and 
upon any little festival from five to eight. Ho was, in 

fact, a punctual observer of Lord Chesterfield’s rule* — tliat 


* This was no rule of Lord Chesterfield's, but a rule bequeathed to us 
by the classical a^es of Greece, Not happening, however, to remember 
this, and looking out for some Citable person to invest with the paternity 
of so graceful a formula, the German writer showed his judgment in 
fixing upon Lord Chesterfield; for, though not his, the mot is really not 
better than mosff that are: it ought to be his. 



his dinner party, himself included, should riot fall below* 
the number of the Graces, nor exceed that of the Muses. 
In the whole economy of his household arrangements, and 
especially of his dinner parties, there was something pecu- 
liar, and amusingly opposed to the conventional usage of 
society; not, however, that there was any neglect of de- 
corum, such as sometimes occurs in houses where there are 
no ladies to impress a better tone upon the manners. The 
routine, which under no circumstances either varied or re- 
laxed, was this : no sooner was dinner ready, than Lampe, 
the professor’s old footman, stepped into the study with a 
certain measured air, and announced it. This summons 
was obeyed at a pace of double-quick time — Kant talking 
all the way to the eating-room about the state of the wea- 
ther,* a subject which he usually pursued during the earlier 
part of the dinner. Graver themes, such as the political 
events of the day, were never introduced before dinner, or 
at all in his study. The moment that Kant had taken his 
scat, and unfolded his napkin, he opened the business of the 
hour with a particular formula — then, genilemenV* 
The words are nothing; but the tone and air with which 
he uttered them proclaimed, in a way that nobody could 
mistake, relaxation from the toils of the morning, and 
determinate abandonment of himself to social enjoyment. 
The table was hospitably spread ; a sufficient choice of dishes 
there was to meet th^ variety of tastes; and the decanters 
of wine were placed, not on a liistant sideboard, or under 
the odiohs control of a servant (first cousin to the Barme- 
cides), but anacreoifcically on the table, and at the elbow 

* His reason for wliicli was, that ne oonsiden&d the weather one of the 
principal forces which act upon the health; and his own frame was ex- 
quimtely sensible to all atmospheric influences. 




of every guest.* Every person helped himself; and all 
delays, from too elaborate a spirit of ceremony, were so 
disagreeable to Kant, that he seldom failed to express 
his displeasure with anything of that sort, though not 
angrily. For this hatred of delay Kant had a special ex- 
cuse, having always worked hard from an early hour in 
the morning, and eaten nothing until dinner. Hence it 
was, that in the latter period of his life, though less per- 
haps from actual hunger than from some uneasy sensation 
of habit or pci^odical irritation of stomach, he could 

* Something is said or insinuated, by somoof tho contributors to this 
record, about second courses. But, in strict trutli, when speaking of so 
humbJoti mmafje as that of any scholar possessing no private fortune, or 
(like Kant) none beyond that modest one of about £4000 sterling, which 
forty years of frugality had won from tho narrow appointments of his 
academic office, one is obliged to recollect that anything whatever in tho 
shape of a remove will stand good for a technical cowrse** I knew a ^ 
man who presented his guests with a plate of water-cresses and radishes, 
as what ho called a third course, and two kinds of biscuits as a fourth. 
Meantime, 1 have myself drawn from a private source some information 
(liable to no doubt whatsoever) which would partially set aside the re- 
ports of Wasianski and Eiuk. Do I therefore allow myself to question 
the voracity of these gentlemen? Not at all. Tho mere triviality of the 
whole case is a sufficient guarantee of their accuracy. But of necessity 
they (one as much as tho other) spoke to a i)articular period — a mouth, 
or a year. My two informants spoke to far different periods — differing 
by five and nine years from tho period of Wasianski, and each from the 
other differing by four. These two informants (ono of them an English- 
man, long settled as a merchant at Kbnigsberg) described to me a dinner 
in all its circumstantial features. The sum of their information was, 
that in those days Kant’s dinners, if at all of the festival class com- 
memorating any interesting event, were long afid loitering, as indeed all 
dinners ought to be which minister to colloquial pleasures as their pri- 
mary objects. They lasted through three or four hours; and the dishes 
were not placed on the table at all, but were handed round one by ono in 
succession. On this plan it was out of the question to talk of courses. 
People leaned back in their chairs, as at any aristocratic dinner in England, 
for half-hours together, simply conversing, and recurring only at inter- 
vals to the business of eatfbg, when any dish happened to be offered which 
specially attracted the particular guest. 



hardly wait with patience for the arrival of the last person 

There was no friend of Kant’s but considered the day on 
whicli he was to dine with him as a day of festal pleasure. 
Without giving himself the air of an instructor, Kant really 
was such in the very highest degree. The whole enter- 
tainment was seasoned with the overflow of his enlightened 
mind, poured out naturally and unafiectedly upon every 
topic, as the chances of conversation suggested it; and 
the time flew rapidly away, from one o’clock to four, five, 
or even later, profitably and delightfully. Kant tolerated 
no lulls, which was tlie name he gave to the momentary 
pauses in conversation, when its animation languished. 
Some means or other ho always devised for rekindling its 
tone of interest; and in this he was much assisted by the 
tact with which he drew from every guest his peculiar 
tastes, or the particular direction of his pursuits; and on 
these, be they what they might, he was never unprepared 
to speak with knowledge, and with the interest of an 
original observer. The local affairs of Kbnigsberg must 
have been interesting indeed, before they could be allowed 
to usurp attention at /ns table. And what may seem still 
more singular, it was rarely or never that he directed the 
conversation to any branch of the philosophy founded by 
himself. Indeed he was perfectly free from the fault which 
besets so many savans and literati, of intolerance towards 
those whose pursuits might happen to have disqualified 
* them for any special sympathy with his own. His style of 
conversation was popular in the highest degree, and un- 
sehblastic; so much so, that any stranger acquainted with his 
works, but not with his person, would have found it difficult ^ 
to believe, that in this delightful and^enial companion he 
saw the profound author of the Transcendental Philosophy. 



The subjects of oonversation at Kant’s table were drawn 
chiefly from natural philosophy, chemistry, meteorology, 
natural history, and, above all, from politics. The news 
of the day, as reported in the newspapers, was discussed 
with a peculiar vigilance of examination.* With regard 
to any narrative that wanted dates of time and place, plau- 
sible as it might otherwise seem, he was uniformly an in- 
exorable sceptic, and held it unworthy of repetition. So 
keen was his penetration into the interior of political events, 
and .the secret policy under which they moved, that he 

* And even with a searching spirit of scepticism, for which all the 
journals in central Europe (as then conducted) furnished but too much 
justiiication. In none of tho German states was there, nor could there 
have been, cither illumination to discern, or freedom to choose. The 
French Ucvolution had suddenly begun to rock, like a succession of earth- 
quakes, beneath and round about allthrones. Awful chasms in tho midst 
of portentous gloom, equally uncertain for their extent and their direc- 
tion, seemed opening and yawning beneath men's feet. And at a time 
when tho kings of Christendom could rationally have faced tho new-horn 
dreadful republic on the Seine in no rational spirit of iiope, but such as 
rested on fraternal alliance and absolute good faitli, most of them were 
perfidiously undermining, by secret intrigues for purely selfish objects, 
those great military confederacies on which ostensibly they relied. Prussia, 
above all, in the very noon of her aggressive movements against France, 
and in the mid ravings of her hellish menaces against Paris (such as fur- 
nished but too colourable a plea to the atrocities that subsequently turned 
France into a butcher’s shambles), was playing the traitress to her en- 
gagements from tho first — fixing her hungry eye upon tho approaching 
wrecks of Poland; and in captivity to this fierce vulture instinct, as if 
scenting continually tlie odour of distant carrion in the East, altogether 
overlooking her great military interests in tlib West, so perilously con- 
fided to the Duke of Brunswick. To the stern integrity of Kant, all such 
double-dealing was hateful. That it should be imputed to his own coun- 
try, grieved him profoundly. Personally he was known to the reigning 
King of Prussia; had been treated by that prinse with distinguished con- 
sideration; and thus had an extra motive for refusing at first to read the 
^igoB of the Prussian policy as many others read them. But be was too 
sagacious not to suspect them; and the evidences of this deep treachery, 
which laid the foundation fi^r suffering so incalculable to all the states of 
Christendom, but to none so mxLcix as to Prussia herself from 1806 to 1813, 
finally became irresistible. 



talked rather with the authority of a diplomatic person who 
had access to cabinet intelligence^ than as a simple specta- 
tor of the great scenes which were in those days unfolding 
throughout Europe. At the time of the French Revolu- 
tion, he threw out many conjectures, and what then passed 
for paradoxical anticipations, especially in regard to mili- 
tary operations, which were as punctually fulfilled as his 
own memorable conjecture in regard to the hiatus in the 
planetary system between Mars and Jupiter,* the entire 
confirmation of which he lived to witness on the discovery 
of Ceres by Piazzi, and of Pallas by Dr Olbera. These two 
discoveries, by the way, impressed him much; and they fur- 
nished a topic on which he always talked with pleasure; 
though, according to his usual modesty, ho never said a 
word of his own sagacity in having upon a priori grounds 
shown the probability of such discoveries many years before. 

• Vesta and Juno were discovered in June, 1804, about the time when 
Wasianski wrote. Meantime, I do not profess to understand my German 
authorities at this point. Any hiatus in the planetary system tbat Kant 
fcuspeeted, so far as 1 am acquainted with his views, did not lie between 
Mars and J ui)itcr, but in a higher region; neitlicr was it of a nature to 
bo remedied by bodies so small as Ceres and Pallas. What Kant had 
indicated as an apparent ground for presuming some hiatus in our own 
system, was the abruptness of the transition from one order of orbits to 
another— viz., from the planetary , which might be regarded as by ten- 
dency circular, to the cometary order, which departs from this tendency 
by all degrees of eccentricity. The passing of the first into the last 
seemed to Kant not propdrly graduated; it was discontinuous. He pre- 
sumed, therefore, that between the outemost known planet, which at 
that time was Saturn, and the comet; ■ y system, some great planet must 
exist that would constituto a link of -transition — as being more eccentric 
than Saturn, and less so than the nearest of the comets. Not very long 
after was discovered Herschel (the fhtber) the gr^t planet Uranw, 
or jifki H was called by the discoverer in a spirit of gratitude to his patron) 
^l^i0eorgivM Sidus. This discovery was so far a justification of Kant’s 
conjecture; which conjecture was ^ltogether an priori speculation, like 
.'that which led to the discovery of Neptune— that is, it did not by one iota 
rest upon any experimental lunt^ but upon necessitieB prioti. 



It was not only in the character of a companion that 
Kant shone, hut also as a most courteous and liberal .host, 
who had no greater pleasure than in seeing his guests 
happy and jovial, and rising with exhilarated spirits from 
the mixed pleasures — intellectual and liberally sensual — of 
his Platonic banquets. Chiefly, perhaps, with a view to 
the sustaining of genial hilarity, he showed himself some- 
what of an artist in the composition of his dinner parties. 
Two rules there were which he obviously observed, and I 
may say invariably: the first was, that the company should 
be miscellaneous; this for the sake of securing sufficient 
variety to the conversation: and accordingly his parties 
presented as much variety as the world of Kbiiigsberg af- 
forded, being drawn from all varieties of •life — men in 
office, professors, physicians, clergymen, and enlightened 
merchants. His second rule was, to have a due balance 
of young men, frequently of very young men, selected from 
the students of the university, in order to impress a move- 
ment of gaiety and juvenile playfulness on the conversa- 
tion; an additional motive for which, as I have reason to 
believe, was, that in this way he withdrew his mind from 
the sadness which sometimes overshadowed it, for the early 
deaths of some young friends whom he loved. 

And this leads me to mention a singular feature in 
Kant’s way of expressing his sympathy with his friends in 
sickness. So long as the danger was imminent, he testi- 
fied a restless anxiety, made perpetual inquiries, waited 
with impatience for the crisis, and sometimes could not 
pursue his customary labours from agitation of mind. 
But no sooner was the patient’s death announced, than he 
recovered his composure, and assumed an air of stern 
tranquillity — almost of indifference. The reason was, that 
hb viewed life in general, and therefore that particular 
e2 * 



affection of life which we call sickness, as a state of oscilla- 
tion and perpetual change, between which and the fluctu- 
ating sympathies of hope and fear, there was a natural 
proportion that justified them to the reason; whereas 
death — as a permanent state that admitted of no more and 
no leas, that terminated all anxiety, and for ever extin • 
guished the agitations of suspense — he regarded as not 
adapted to any state of feeling, but one of ^e same 
enduring and unchanging character. However, all this 
philosophic heroism gave way on one occasion; for many 
persons will remember the tumultuous grief which he 
manifested upon the death of Mr Ehrenboth, a young man 
of very fine understanding and extensive attainments, f6r 
whom he had the greatest affection. And naturally it 
happened, in so long a life as his, in spite of his provident 
rule for selecting his social companions as much as possible 
amongst the young, that he had to mourn for many a 
heavy loss that could never be supplied to him. 

To return, however, to the course of his day, imme- 
diately after tho termination of his dinner party, Kant 
walked out for exercise; but on this occasion he never 
took any companion ; partly, perhaps, because bo thought 
it right, after so much convivial and colloquial relaxation, 
to pursue his meditations,* and partly (as I happen to 

* Mr Wasianski is wrong. To pursue his meditations under these cir- 
cumstances mightj perhaps^ be an inclination of Eant’s to which he 
yielded, but not one which he would justify or erect into a maxim. Ho 
disapproved of eating alone, or aoUpm,.iu8 convictorii, as he calls it, on 
ti^j^nciple, that a^an would bo apt, if not called off by the business 
iHBasurc of a social party, to think too much or too closely, an exer- 
flj^hich he considered very injurious to the stomach during the first 
^pPeesa of digestion. On the name principle he disapproved of walking 
or riding alone; the double exercise of ihhiking and of bodily agitation, 
carried on simultaneously, being calculated, as he conceived, to press too 
hard upon the stomaoh. 


know) for this very peculiar reason — that he wished to 
breathe exclusively through his nostrils, whi^h he could 
not do, if he were obliged continually to open his mouth 
in conversation. His reason for this wish was, that the at< 
mospheric air, being thus carried round by a longer circuit, 
and reaching the lungs, therefore, in a state of less rawness, 
and at a temperature somewhat higher, would be less apt 
to irritate them. By a steady perseverance in this prac- 
tice, which he constantly recommended to his friends, he 
flattered himself with a long immunity from coughs, hoarse- 
nesses, catarrhs, and all modes of pulmonary derangement; 
and the fact really was, that these troublesome affections 
attacked him very rarely. Indeed, I myself, by only occa- 
sionally adopting his rule, have found my chest not so 
liable as formerly to such attacks. 

On returning from his walk, he sat down to his library 
table, and read till dusk. During this period of dubious 
light, so friendly to thought, he rested in tranquil medita- 
tion on what he had been reading, provided the book were 
worth it; if not, he sketched his lecture for the next day, 
or some part of any book he might then bo composing. 
During this state of repose, he took his station winter and 
summer by the stove, looking through the window at the 
old tower of Lbbenicht; not that he could be said properly 
to see it, but the tower rested upon his eye as distant music 
on the ear — obscurely, or but half revealed to the conscious- 
ness. No words seem forcible enough to express his sense 
of the gratification which he derived from this old tower, 
when seen under these circumstances o^twilight and quiet 
reverie. The sequel, indeed, showed how important it had 
become to his comfort; for at length some poplars in a 
neighbouring garden shot up to such a height as to obscure 
the tower, upon which Kant became very uneasy and rest- 



less, and at length found himself positively unable to 
pursue his evening meditations. Fortunately, the pro- 
prietor of the garden was a very considerate and obliging 
person, who had, besides, a high regard for Kant; and, 
accordingly, upon a representation of the case being made 
to him, he gave orders that the poplars should be cropped. 
This was done; the old tower of Lobenicht was again ex- 
posed; Kant recovered his equanimity, and once more 
found himSelf able to pursue his twilight meditations in 

After the candles were brought, Kant prosecuted his 
studies till nearly ten o’clock. A quarter-of-an-hour before 
retiring for the night, he withdrew his mind as much as 
possible from every class of thoughts which demanded any 
exertion or energy of attention, on the principle, that by 
stimulating and exciting him too much, such thoughts 
would be apt to cause wakefulness; and the slightest in- 
terference with his customary hour of falling asleep was in 
the highest degree unpleasant to him. Happily, this was 
with him a very rare occurrence. He undressed himself 
without his servant’s assistance; but in such an order, and 
with such a Roman regard to decorum and the rh 
that he was always ready at a moment’s warning to make 
his appearance without embarrassment to himself or to 
others. This done^ he lay down on a mattress, and 
wrapped himself up in a quilt, which in summer was always 
of cotton; in autumn, of wool ; at the setting-in of winter, 
he used both; and, against very severe cold, he protected 
himself by one ofir eider- down, ot which the part which 
cd^ed his shoulders was not stuffed with feathers, but 
pftdded, or rather wadded closely with layers of wool. 
Long practice had taught him a very dexterous mode of 
nesting and enswathing himself m the bedclothes. First of 



all^ he sat dowu on the bedside; then with an agile motion 
he vaulted obliquely into his lair; next he drew one corner 
. of the bedclothes under his left shoulder, and, passing it 
below his back, brought it round so as to rest under his 
right shoulder; fourthly, by a particular tour d^adrmCy he 
operated on the other corner in the same way; and fin- 
ally contrived to roll it round his whole person. Thus 
swathed like a mummy, or (as I used to tell him) self-in- 
volved like the silk-worm in its cocoon, he awaited the 
approach of sleep, which generally came on immediately. 
For Kant’s health was exquisite; not mere negative health, 
or the absence of pain, and of irritation, and also of mal-aise 
(either of which, though not “ pain,” is often worse to bear), 
but a state of positive pleasurable sensation, and a con- 
scious possession of all his vital activities. Accordingly) 
when packed up for the night in the way I have described, 
he would often ejaculate to himself (as he used to tell us 
at dinner) — “ Is it possible to conceive a human being with 
more perfect health than myself? ” In fact, such was the 
purity of his life, and such the happy condition of his 
situation, that no uneasy ijassion ever arose to excite him, 
nor care to harass, nor pain to awake him. Even in the 
severest winter, his sleeping-room was without a fire; only 
in his latter years he yielded so far to the entreaties of 
his friends as to allow of a very small one. All nursing or 
self-indulgence found no quarter with Kant. In fact, five 
minutes, in the coldest weather, sufficed to supersede the 
first chill of the bed, by the diffusion of a general glow 
over his person. If he had any occasion to leave his 
room in the night-time (for it was always kept dark day 
and might, summer and winter), he guided himself by a 
rope, which was duly attached to his bedpost every night, 
and carried into the adjoining apartment. 



Kant never perspired,* night or day. Yet it waS asto- 
nishing how much heat he supported habitually in his 
study, and, in fact, was not easy if it wanted but one de- 
gree of this heat. Seventy-five degrees of Fahrenheit was 
the invariable temperature of this room in which ho chiefly 
lived; and if it fell below that point, no matter at what 
season of the year, he had it raised artificially to the usual 
standard. In the heats of summer he went thinly dressed, 
and invariably in silk stockings; yet, as even this dress 
could not always secure him against perspiring when en- 

* This appears less extraordinaiy, considering the description of Kant's 
person, giveji originally by Reichardt, about eight years after his death. 
“Kant,” says this writer, “was drier than dust” [if so, ho was worse 
than Dr Dry-a^>dast, whom else we generally place at the head of his 
category], “ both in body and mind. His person was small; and possibly 
a more meagre, arid, parched anatomy of a man has not appeared upon 
this earth. The upper part of his face was grand; forehead lofty and 
serene, nose elegantly turned, eyes brilliant and penetrating; but express- 
ing powerfully the coarsest sensuality, which in him displayed itself by 
immoderate addiction to eating and drinking.” This last feature of his 
temperament is, beyond a doubt, here expressed much too harshly. There 
were but two things on earth — viz,, coffee and tobacco — ^for which Kant 
had an immoderate liking; and from both of those, under some notion 
that they were unwholesome, it is notorious that generally he abstained. 
By the way, Kant’s indisposition to pei spire, taken in connection with 
his exquisite health, may serve perhaps to refute (or, at least, to throw 
strong doubts upon) a dark fancy, which has been sometimes insinuated 
as to the misery which desolated the life of Cowper the poet. I knew 
personally several of Cowper’s nearest friends and relatives— one of 
whom, by the way, a brilliant and accomplished barrister, with a splen- 
did fortune, shot himself under no other impulse than that of pure 
mnui, or tcedium mtCBt or, in fact, furious rebellion against the odious 
monotony of life. Tc^det me hariim quotidianarum formamm : this was 
his outcry. Ah, wherefore should Thurs'^ay bo such a servile /ac-sfwwYc 
of Wednesday] This, hpwever, argued a taint of insanity in the family. 
But, said some people, that taint (presuming it to exist) rested upon the 
islcapaoity of perspiring. Cowper could not perspire. This 1 ^now to be 
^ ikeb; and connecting it with Cowper’s constitutional tendency to 
’ one might fancy the one peculiarity to be the cause of the other. But, on 
the other hand, here is Kant equaflyron-t^erspiriog, who never betrayed 
any tendency to mania. 



gaged in active exercise, he had a singular remedy iu re- 
serve. Betiring to some shady place, he stood still and 
motionless — with the air^nd attitude of a person listening, 
or in suspense — until his usual andity was restored. Even 
in the most sultry summer night, if the slightest trace of 
perspiration had sullied his night-dress, he spoke of it with 
emphasis, as of an accident that perfectly shocked him. 

On this occasion, whilst illustrating Kant’s notions of the 
animal economy, it may be as well to add one other parti- 
cular, which is, that, for fear of obstructing the circulation 
of the blood, he never would wear garters; yet, as he found 
it difficult to keep up his stockings without them, he had 
invented for himself a most elaborate substitute, which I 
will describe. In a little pocket, somewhat smaller than 
a watch-pocket, but occupying pretty nearly the same 
situation as a watch-pocket on each thigh, there was placed 
a small box, something like a watch-case, but smaller; into 
this box was introduced a watch-spring in a wheel, round 
about which wheel was wound an elastic cord, for regulating 
the force of which there was a separate contrivance. To 
the two ends of this cord were attached hooks, which hooks 
were carfied through a small aperture in the pockets, and 
so, passing down the inner and the outer side of the thigh, 
caught hold of two loops which were fixed on the off side 
and the near side of each stocking. As might be expected, 
so complex an apparatus was liable, like the Ptolemaic 
system of the heavens, to occasional derangements ; 
however, by good luck, I w^as able to apply an easy 
remedy to these disorders, which (Otherwise threatened 
to disturb the comfort, and even the serenity, of the great 

Precisely at five minutes before five o’clock, winter and 
summer, I^impe, Kant’s footman, who had formerly served 



in the army, marched into his master’s room with the air 
of a sentinel on duty, and cried aloud, in a military tone, 
Mr Professor, the time is com^” This summons Kant 
invariably obeyed without one moment’s delay, as a sol- 
dier* does the word of command — never, under any circum- 
stances, allowing himself a respite, not even under the rare 
accident of having" passed a sleepless night. As the clock 
struck five, Kant was seated at the breakfast-table, where 
he drank what he called one cup of tea; and no doubt he 
thought it such; but the fact was, that, in part from his 
habit of reverie, and in part also for the purpose of re- 
freshing its warmth, he filled up his cup so often, that in 
general he is supposed to have drunk two, three, or some 
unknown number.* Immediately after, he smoked a pipe 
of tobacco (the only one which he allowed himself through 
the entire day), but so rapidly, that a pile of reliques par- 
tially aglow remained unsmoked. During this operation 
he thought over his arrangements for the day, as he had 
done the evening before during twilight. About seven he 
usually went to his lecture-room, and from that he returned 
to his writing-table. Precisely at three-quarters before 
one, he arose from his chair, and called aloud to Ihe cook, 
“It has struck three-quarters.” The meaning of which 
summons was this: — At dinner, and immediately after 
taking soup, it was his constant practice to swallow what 
he called a dram, which consisted cither of Hungarian 
wine, of Ehenish, of a cordial, or (in default of these) of 
the English compound called BiY op, A flask or a jug of 
this was brought up. by the cook on the proclamation of 
the three-quarters. Kant hurried with it to the dining- 
room, poured out his quantum, left it standing in readiness 
.(covered, however, with paper, to prevent its becoming 
fvapid), and then went back to his study, where he awaited 



the arrival of his guests, whom to the latest period of his 
life he never received otherwise than in full dress. 

Thus we come round agtin to dinner, and the reader has 
now an accurate picture of Kant’s day, according to the 
usual succession of its chcanges. To him the monotony of 
this succession was not burdensome, and probably aontri- 
buted, with the uniformity of his diet, and other habits of 
the same regularity, to lengthen his life. On this conside- 
ration, indeed, he had come to regard his health and his old 
age as in a great measure the product of his own exertions. 
He spoke of himself often under the figure of a gymnastic 
artist, who had continued for nearly fourscore years to sup- 
port his balance upon the tight-rope of life, without once 
swerving to the right or to the left. And certainly, in spite 
of every illness to which his constitutional tendencies had 
exposed him, he still kept his position in life triumphantly. 

This anxious attention to his health accounts for the 
great interest which he attached to all new discoveries in 
medicine, or to new ways of theorising on the old ones. 
As a work of great pretension in both classes, he set the 
highest value upon the theory of the Scotch physician, 
Brown, or (as it is usually called, from the Latinised name 
of its author) the Brunonian Theory. No 'sooner had 
Weikard adopted^ and popularised it in Germany, than 
Kant became familiar with its details. Ho considered it 
not only as a great step taken for medicine, but even for 
the general interests of man, and fancied that in this he 
saw something analogous to the course which human 
nature has held in still more important inquiri^ — viz.: 
first of all, a continual ascent towards the more and more 

• This theory was afterwards greatly modified in Germany; and, judg- 
ing from the random glances which 1 throw on these subjects, 1 believe 
that in this recast it still keeps its ground in that country. 

F— III. 



elaborately coni]>lex^ and tben a treading back^ on its own 
steps, towards the simple and elementary. Dr Beddoes* 
Essays, also, for producing by ftrt and for curing pulmo- 
nary consumption, and the method of Eeich for curing 
fevers, made a powerful impression upon him; which, how- 
ever, declined as those novelties (especially the last) began 
to sink in credit.* As to Dr Jenner’s discovery of vacci- 
nation, he wasf* less favourably disposed to it; he appre- 
hended dangerous consequences from the absorption of a 
brutal miasma into the human blood, or at least into the 
lymph; and at any rate he thought that, as a guarantee 
against the variolous infection, it required a much longer 
probation.! Groundless as all these views were, it was 

* It seems singular, but in fact illustrates peihaps the. dominion of 
chance and accident in distributing so unequally and disproporticnately 
the attention of learned inquirers to important and suggestive novelties; 
and in part also it proclaims the very imperfect diffusion in those days, 
tlirough scientific journals, of useful discoveries — that, in tho treatment 
of fevers, Kant seems never to have heard of the cold-water affmion ** 
introduced by Dr Guirie; nor again of the revolutionary principles ap- 
plied by Dr Kentish and others to the treatment of burns. Dr Beddoes, 
who married a sister of Wiss lldgolferth’s, and was the father of Beddoes 
the poet (a man of real genius), Kant had heaid uf, and regarded with 
much interest. In which there was an unconscious justice. For Dr 
Beddoes read eitensively amongst German literature in thd first dccen- 
nium of this century, wboii a lew dozens composed tho pntire body of 
such students in Great Britain, ffe was, in fact, the first man wh6 
uttered the name of Jean Paul Kichter in an English book; as I myself 
was the first (December, 1821) who gave in English a specimen of Kichter’s 
style. (It was a chance extract, such as 1 could command at the time, 
from his ** Flegel-jahre.”) Beddoes, ’ eantime, an dfcet from the school 
(if school it could be called) of the splendid Erasmus Darwin, Kant knew 
and admired. But Baldwin, the leader in this freothinking school, Kant 
not af^arently ever heard of. 

t '’t Kant, in his primary objections to the vaccine inoculation, will be 
eonfound^ with Dr Rowley, aqd other anti-vaocine fanatics. But this 
vught not to hide from us, that, i i his inclination to regard vaccination 
as no more than a temporary guarantee against small-pox, Kant’s saga- 
city has been largely justified hy the event. It is now agreed that vao- 



exceedingly entertaining to hear the fertility of argument 
and analogy which he brought forward to support them. 
One of' the subjects which occupied him at the latter end 
of his lifoi was the theory and phenomena of galvanism, 
which, however, he never satisfactorily mastered. Augus- 
tin’s book upon this subject was about the last that he 
read, and his copy still retains on the margin his pencil- 
marks of doubts, queries, and suggestions. * 

The infirmities of age now began to steal upon Kant, 
and betrayed themselves in more shapes than one. Con- 
nected with Kant’s prodigious memory for all things hav- 
ing any intellectual bearings, he had from youth laboured 
under an unusual weakness of this faculty in relation to 
the common affairs of daily life. Some remarkable in- 
stances -of this are on record from the period of his childish 
days; and now, when his second childhood was com- 
mencing, this infirmity increased upon him very sensibly. 
One of the first signs was, that he began to repeat the 
same stories more thJh once on the same day. Indeed, 
the decay of his memory was too palpable to escape his 
own notice; and, in order to provide against it, and to 
secure himself from ajl apprehension of inflicting tedium 
upon his guests, ho began to write a syllabus, or list of 
themes, fbr each day’s conversation, on cards, or the covers 
of letters, or any chance scrap of paper. But these me- 
moranda accumulated so fast upon him, and were so easily 
lost, or not forthcoming at the proper moment, that I pre- 
vailed on him to substitute a blank-paper book, which 
still remains, and exhibits some afi^cting memorials of his 
own conscious weakness. As often happens, however, in ^ 

cin^tion, as an absolute guarantee against the natural small-pox, ought 
to be repeated every seven years. 



such cases, he had a perfect raemory for the remote events 
of his life, and could repeat with great readiness very long 
passages from German or Latin poems, especially from the 
“ iEneid,” whilst the very words that had been uttered but 
a mometffc before dropped away from his remembrance. 
The past came A^rward with the distinctness and liveliness 
of an immediate existence, whilst the present faded awny 
into the obscurity of infinite distance. 

Another sign of his mental decay waS the weakness with 
which he now began to theorise. He accounted for every- 
thing by electricity. A singular moitality at this time 
prevailed amongst the cats of Vienna, Basle, Copenhagen, 
and other places widely remote. Cats being so eminently 
an electric animal, of course he attributed this epizootic to 
electricity. Duiing the same peiiod he persuaded him- 
self that a peculiar configuration of clouds prevailed; this 
he took as a collateral proof of his electrical hypothesis. 
His own headaches, too, whilh in all probability were a 
mere remote effect of old age, and a diiect one of an inabi- 
lity * to think as easily and as scvii^ely as formerly, he ex- 
plained upon the same piinciplc. And this was a notion 
of which his fiicncls were not anxious to disabuse him; be- 
cause, as something of the same character of w^eather (and 
therefore probably the same general distribution of the 
electric power) is found to prevail for whole cycles of years, 
entrance upon another c^cle held out to him some prospect 
of relief. A delusion, which secured the comforts of hope, 
was the next best thing to an actual system of relief; and 


^ ♦ Mr Wasianski is probably quite in the wrong here. If the hindian- 
which natuie presented to the act of thinking were now on the in- 
crease, on the other hand, the disposition to think, by his own acknow- 
ledgment, was on the wane. The power and the habit altering in pro- 
portion, there is no case made out of that disturbed equilibrium to which 
apparently ho would attribute the headaches. 


a man who, in sCich circumstances, is cured of his delusion, 
cui demptua per vm mentis gratissimns error might reason- 
ably have exclaimed, Pol, me occidistist amici'^ 

Possibly the deader may suppose that, in this particular 
instance of charging his own decays upon the slj^te of the 
atmosphere, Kant was actuated by the weakness of vanity, 
' • some unwillingness to face the real fact that his powers 
^ore decaying. But this was -not the case, ^ Ho was per- 
fectly aware of his own condition; and, as early as 1799, he 
said, m my presence, to a party of his friends, ‘^Gentlemen, 
I am old, and weak, and childish, and you must treat me 
as a child.” Or perhaps it may be thought that he shrank 
from the contemplation of death, which, as apoplcxj^ seemed 
to be threatened by the pains in his head, miglit l)ave hap* 
pened any day. But neither was this the case. He now 
lived in a continual state of resignation, and prepared for 
any decree whatever of Providence. “Gentlemen,” said 
ho, one day to his guests, “ I do not fear to die. I assure 
you, as in the presence of God, that if, on this very night, 
suddenly the summons to death were to reach me, I should 
hear it with calmness, should ^-aise my hands to heaven, and 
say. Blessed be God I Were it indeed possible that a whis- 
per such as this could reach luy ear — Fourscore years thou 
liast lived, in which time thou hast inflicted much evil upon 
thy fellow-men, the case would be otherwise.” Whosoever 
has heard Kant speak of his own death, Avill bear witness 
to the tone of earnest sincerity which, on such occasions, 
marked his manner and gestures. 

A third sign of his decaying faculties was, that he now 
lost all accurate ineasure of time. One minute, nay, with- 
out exaggeration, a much less space of time, stretched out 
in his apprehension of things to a wearisome duration. Of 
this 1 can give one rather amusing instance, which was of 



constant recurrence. At the beginning of the last year of 
his life^ he fell into a custom of taking, immediately after 
dinner, a cup of coffee, especially on those days when it 
happened that I was of his party. And such was the im- 
portance^* attached to this little pleasure, that he would 
even make a memorandum beforehand, in the blank-paper 
book T had given him, that on the next day I was to dine 
with him, and consequently that there was to be coffee. 
Sometimea it would happen that the interest of conversa- 
tion carried him past the time at which he felt the craving 
for it; and this I was not sorry to observe, as I feared that 
coffee, which he had never been accustomed to,* might dis- 
turb his rest at night. But, if this did not happen, then com- 
menced a scene of some interest. Coffee must be brought 
** upon the spot ” (a word he had constantly in his mouth 

* How this tapper ed to be the case in Germany, Mr Wasinnski has 
not explained. Perhaps the Englibh merchants at KSnigsberg, being 
amongst Kant's oldest and most intimate friends, had early familiarised 
him with the practice of drinking tea, and with other English tastes. 
However, Jachmann tells ns that Kant was extravagantly fond of coffee, 
but forced himself to abstain from it under a notion that it was very un- 
wholesome; hut whether dn any other separate ground beyond that of its 
tendency to defraud men of sleep, is not explained. A far better reason 
for abstaining from coffee, than any visionary fancies about its inpalubrity, 
rests in England upon the villanous mode of its preparation. In respect 
to cookery, and every conceivable culinary process, the English (and in 
exaggerated degree the Scotch) are the most unciiliur^ of the human 
race. It was an old saying of a sarcastic Frenchman on visiting that 
barbarous city of London (foremost upon earth for many great qualities, 
but the most barbarous upon earth (except Edinburgh and Glasgow) for 
all culinary arts) — Behold 1” said the Frenchinan, “a land where they 
have sixty religions” (alluding to the nu’ icrous subdivisions of Protestant 
dissent), ''and only que sauce.” Now this was a fib: for, wretched as 
England is and ever was in this respect, she could certainly count twenty- 
five. But^ meantime, what would tho Frenchman have thought of Scot- 
that absolutely has not onel Even to this day, the horrible fish, 
A^d haddy throughout Scotland, is ea|en without any sauce whatever; 

which means its atrocities are trade ten times more distinguisbably 



during his latter days) in a moment.” And the express 
sions of his impatience^ though from old habit still gentle, 
were so lively, and had so much of infantine naivete about 
them, that none of us could forbear smiling. Knowing what 
would happen, I had taken care that all the |||eparation9 
should be made beforehand: the coifee was ground; the 
water was boiling; and the very moment the word was 
given, his servant shot in like an arrow, and plunged the 
coffee into the water. All that remained, therefore, was 
to give it time to boil up. But this trifling delay seemed 
unendurable to Kant. All consolations were thrown away 
upon him: vary the formula as we might, he was never at 
a loss for a reply. Tf it was said, Dear professor, the 
coffee will be brought up in a moment.” — “ Will be!” he 
would say, ‘‘but there’s the rub, that it only will be: 

‘Man never is, but always to he blest.’” 

If another cried out, “ The coffee is coming immediately,” 
“ Yes,” he would retort, “ and so is the next hour: and, by 
the way, it’s about that length of time that I have waited 
for it.” Then he would collect himself with a stoical air, 
and say, “Well, one can die after all: it is but dying; and 
in the next world, thank God 1 there is no drinking of 
coffee, and consequently no waiting for it.” Sometimes he 
would rise from his chair, open the door, and cry out, with 
a feeble querulousness, as if appealing to the last arrears 
of humanity amongst his fellow-creatures, “ Coffee ! coffee !” 
And when at length he heard the servant’s steps upon the 
stairs, he would turn round to us^ and,*as joyfully as ever 
sailor from the mast-head, he would call out, “ Land, land 1 
my dear friends, I see land.” 

This general decliue in Kant’s powers, active and pas* 
$ive, gradually brought about a revolution in his habits 



of life. Hitherto, as I have already mentioned, he went 
to bed at ten, and rose a little before five. The latter 
practice he still observed, but not the other. In 1802 he 
retired as early as nine, and afterwards still earlier. He 
found hinuijlf so much refreshed by this addition to his 
rest, that ^ first he was disposed to utter a as over 

some great discovery in the art of restoring exhausted 
nature: but afterwards, on pushing it still farther, he did 
not find the success answer his expectations. His walks 
he now limited to a few turns in the king’s gardens, which 
were at no great distance from his own house. In order 
to walk more firmly, ho adopted a peculiar method of 
stepping: he carried his foot to the ground, not forward, 
and obliquely, but perpendicularly, and with a kind of 
stamp, so as to secure a larger basis, by setting down the 
entire sole at once. Ifotwithstanding this precaution, upon 
one occasion he fell in the street. He was quite unable to 
raise himself; and two young ladies, who saw the accident, 
ran to his assistance. With his usual graciousness of man- 
ner he thanked them fervently for their assistance, and 
presented one of them with a rose which he happened to 
have in his hand. This lady was not personally known to 
Kant; but she was greatly delighted with his little present, 
and still keeps the rose as a frail memorial of her transi- 
tory interview with the great philosopher. 

This accident, as I have reason to think, was the cause 
of his henceforth renouncing exercise altogether. All 
labours, even that of reading, we ‘e now performed slowly, 
and with manifest ^effort; and those which cost him any 
considerable bodily exertion became very exhausting. 

feet refused to do their office more and more; he fell 
^il^ntinually, both when moving across the room, and even 
when standing still: yet he seldom suffered from these 



falls; and he constantly laughed at them, maintaining 
that it was impossible he could hurt himself, from the ex- 
treme lightness of his person, which was indeed by this 
time the merest shadow of a man. Very often, especially 
in the morning, he dropped asleep in his chai||from pure 
weariness and exhaustion: on these occasions he was apt 
to fall upon the floor, from which he was unable to raise 
himself up, until accident brought one of his servants or 
his friends into the room. Afterwards these falls were 
prevented, by substituting a chair with circular supports, 
that met and clasped in front. 

These unseasonable dozings exposed him to another 
danger. He fell repeatedly, whilst reading, with his head 
into the candles; a cotton nightcap which he wore was 
instantly in a blaze, and flaming about his head. When- 
ever this happened, Kant behaved with great presence of 
mind. .Disregarding the pain, he seized the blazing cap, 
drew it from his head, laid it quietly on the floor, and trod 
out the flames with his feet. Yet, as this last act brought 
his dressing-gown into a dangerous neighbourhood to the 
flames, I changed the form of his cap, persuaded him to 
arrange the candles diflerently, and had a large vase of 
water placed constantly by his side; and in this waf I 
applied a remedy to a danger which would else probably 
have proved fatal to him. 

From the sallies of impatience which I have described 
in the case of the coffee, there was reason to fear that, with 
the increasing infirmities of Kant, would'grow up a general 
waywardness and obstinacy of temper. For my own sake, 
therefore, and not less for his, I now laid down one rule 
for my future conduct in his house: which was, that 1 
would, on no ocasion, allow my reverence for him to inter* 



fere with the firmest expression of what seemed the just 
opinion on subjects relating to his own health; andfin 
cases of great importance^ that 1 would make no compro- 
mise with Lis particular humours^ but insist, not only on 
my view o(^ the case, but also on the practical adoption of 
my views; or, if this were refused to me, that I. would 
take my departure at once, and not be made responsible 
for the comfort of a person whom I had no power to influ- 
ence. And this behaviour on my part it was that won Kant’s 
confidence; for there was nothing which disgusted him so 
much as any approach to sycophancy or to compliances of 
timidity. As his imbecility increased, he became daily 
more liable to mental delusions; and, in particular, ho fell 
into many fantastic notions about the conduct of his ser- 
vants, and, consequently, sometimes into a peevish mode 
of treating them. Upon these occasions I generally ob- 
served a deep silence. But now and then he would ask 
me for my opinion; and when this happened, I did not 
scruple to say, " Ingenuously, then, Mr Professor, I think ' 
that you are in the wrong.” — " You think so ? ” he would 
reply calmly, at the same time asking for my reasons, 
which he would listen to with great patience and candour. 
Indeed, it was evident that the firmest opposition, so long 
as it rested upon assignable grounds and principles, won 
upon his regard; whilst his own nobleness of character 
still moved him to habitual contempt for timorous and 
partial acquiescence in his opinions, even when his infirmi- 
ties made him most anxious foi such acquiescence. 

Earlier in life Etfnt had been little used to contradiction. 
His superb understanding, his brilliancy in conversation, 
founded in part upon his ready and sometimes rather 
^^stic wit, and in part upon his prodigious command of 
Knowledge — the air of noble self-confidence which the con- 


Bciousness of those advantages impressed upon bis manners 
— and the general acquaintance with the severe purity of 
his life — all combined to give him a station of superiority 
to others, which generally secured him from open con< 
tradiction. And if it sometimes happened tj)iat he met a 
noisy and intemperate opposition, supported by any pre- 
tences to wit, he usually withdrew himself calmly from 
that sort of unprofitable altercation, by contriving to give 
such a turn to the conversation as won the general favour 
of the company to himself, and impressed silence, or mo- 
desty at least, upon the boldest disputant. From a person 
so little familiar with opposition, it could scarcely have 
been anticipated that he should daily surrender his wishes 
to mine, if not without discussion, yet always without dis- 
pleasure. So, however, it was. No habit, of whatever 
long standing, could be objected to as injurious to his 
health, but he would generally renounce it. And he had 
this excellent custom in such cases, that either he would 
resolutely and at once decide for his own opinion, or, if he 
professed to follow his friend’s, he would follow it sincerely, 
'and not try it unfairly, by trying it imperfectly. Any 
plan, however trifling, which he had once consented to 
adopt on the suggestion of anotlier, was never afterwards 
defeated or embarrassed by unseasonable interposition 
from his own humours. And thus, the very period of his 
decay drew forth so many fresh expressions of his cha- 
racter, in its amiable or noble features, as daily increased 
my affection and reverence for his person. 

Having mentioned bis servants, 1 shall here take occa- 
sion to give some account of his man-servant Lampe. It 
was a great misfortune for Kant, in his old age and infir- 
mities, that this man also became old, and subject to a 
different sort of infirmities. This Lampe had originally 



served in the Prussian army; on quitting which he entered 
the service of Kant. Tn this situation he had lived about 
forty years; and, though always dull and stupid, had, in 
the early part of this period, discharged his duties with 
tolerable fidelity. But latterly, presuming upon his own 
indispensableness, from his perfect knowledge of all the 
domestic arrangements, and upon his master’s weakness, 
he bad fallen into great irregularities and habitual neglects. 
Kant had been obliged, therefore, of late to threaten re- 
peatedly that he would discharge him. I, who knew that 
Kant, though one of the kindest-hearted men, was also 
one of the firmest, foresaw that this discharge, once given, 
would be irrevocable: for the word of Kant was as sacred 
as other men’s oaths. Consequently, upon every opportu- 
nity I remonstrated with Lampe on the folly of his con- 
duct; and his wife joined me on these occasions. Indeed, 
it was high time that a change should be made in some 
quarter; for it now became dangerous to leave Kant, who 
was constantly falling from weakness, to the care of an 
old ruffian, who was himself apt to fall from intoxication. 
The fact was, that from the moment I undertook the 
management of Kant’s affairs, Lampe saw there was an 
end to his old system of abusing his master’s confidence in 
pecuniary affairs, and to all the other advantages which he 
took of his helpless situation. This made him desperate, 
and he behaved worse and worse; until one morning, in 
January, 1802, Kant told me, that humiliating as he felt 
such a confession, the fact was, th t Lampe had just treated 
him in a way uhiclfrhe was ashamed to repeat. I was too 
much shocked to distress him by inquiring into the parti- 
cular* But the result was, that Kant now insisted, tem- 
perately but firmly, on Lampe’s dismissal. Accordingly, 
a new servant, named Kaufmann, was immediately engaged; 


and on tlie following day Lampe was discharged, with a 
handsome pension for life. 

Here I must mention a little circumstance which does 
honour to Kant’s benevolence. In his last will, on the 
assumption that Lampe would continue with him to his 
death, he had made a very liberal provision for him; but 
upon this new arrangement of the pension, which was to 
take effect immediately, it became necessary to revoke 
that part of his will, which he did in a separate codicil, 
that began thus: — ^'In consequence of the misbehaviour 
of my servant Lampe, I think fit,” &c. But soon after, 
considering that such a solemn and deliberate record of 
Lampe’s misconduct might be seriously injurious to his 
interests, he cancelled the passa e, and expressed it in 
such a way, that no trace remained behind of his just 
displeasure. And his benign nature was gratified with 
knowing that, this one sentence being blotted out, there 
remained no other in all his numerous writings, published 
or confidential, which spoke the language of anger, or 
could leave any ground for doubting that he died in 
charity with all the world. Upon Lampe’s calling to 
demand a written character, he was, however, a good 
deal embarrassed: Kant’s well-known reverence for truth 
so stern and inexorable being, in this instance, armed 
against the first impulses of his kindness. Long and 
anxiously he sat, with the certificate lying before^him, 
debating how he should -fill up the blanks. I was present; 
but in such a matter 1 did not presume to suggest any ad- 
vice. At last he took his pen, and filled up the blank as 

follows: — “ has served me long and faithfully” — 

(for Kant was not aware that he had robbed him) — but 
did not display those particular qualifications which fitted 
him for waiting on an old and infirm man like myself.” 



This scene of disturbance over, which to Kant, a lover of 
peace and tranquillitj, caused a shock that gladly he would 
have been spared, it was fortunate that no’ other of that 
nature occurred during the rest of his life. Kaufmann, 
the successor of Lampe, turned out to be a respectable 
and upright man, and soon conceived a great attachment 
to his master. Henceforth things wore a new face in 
Kant’s family: by the removal of one of the belligerents, 
peace was once more restored amongst his servants; for 
hitherto there had been eternal wars between Lampe and 
the cook. Sometimes it was Lampe that carried a war of 
aggression into the cook’s territory of the kitchen; some- 
times it was the cook that revenged these insults, by sally- 
ing out upon Lampe in the neutral ground of the hall, or 
invaded him even in his own sanctuary of the butler’s 
pantry. The uproars were everlasting; and thus far it 
was fortunate for the peace of the philosopher, that his 
hearing had begun to fail; by which means he was spared 
many an exhibition of hateful passions and ruffian violence, 
that annoyed his guests and friends. But now all things 
had changed: deep silence reigned in the pantry; the 
kitchen rang no more with martial alarums; and the hall 
was unvexed with skirmish or pursuit. Yet it may be 
readily supposed that to Kant, at the age of seventy- eight, 
changes, even for the better, were not welcome: so intense 
had been the uniformity of his life and habits, that the 
least innovation in the arrangement of articles as trifling 
as a penknife or a pair of scissors oxsturbed him; and not 
merely if they were pushed two or three inches out of 
their Customary* position, but even if they were laid a 
li|lle awry; and as to larger objects, such as chairs, &c., any 
dislocation of their usual arrangement, any transposition, 
or addition to their number, perfectly confounded him; 



and his eye appeared restlessly to haunt the seat of the 
mal- arrangement, until the ancient order was restored. 
With such habits the reader may conceive how distressing 
it must have been to him, at this period of decaying 
powers, to adapt himself to a new servant, a new voice, a 
new step, &c. 

Aware of this, I Iiad, on the day before he entered upon 
his duties, written down for the new servant upon a sheet 
of paper the entire routine of Kant’s daily life, down to 
the minutest and most trivial circumstances; all which he 
mastered with the greatest rapidity. To make sure, how- 
ever, we went through a rehearsal of the whole litual; he 
performing the manoeuvres, I looking on, and giving the 
word. Still I felt uneasy at the idea of bis being left en- 
tirely to his own discretion on his first d^hut in good ear- 
nest, and therefore I made a point of attending on this 
important day; and in the few instances where the new 
recruit missed % accurate manoeuvre, a glance or a nod 
from me easily made him comprehend his failure. 

One part only there was of the daily ceremonial where 
all of us were at a loss, since it was that part which no 
mortal eyes had ever witnessed but those of Lampe: this 
was breakfast. However, that we might do all in our 
power, I myself attended at four o’clock in the morning. 
The day happened, as I remember, to be the first of Fe- 
bruary, 1 802. Precisely at five Kant made his appearance ; 
and nothing could equal his astonishment on finding m*e 
in the room. Fresh from the confusion of dreaming, and 
bewildered alike by the sight of his *new servant, by 
Lampe’s absence, and by my presence, he could with diffi- 
culty be made to comprehend the purpose of my visit. A 
friend in need is a friend indeed; and we would now have 
given any money to that learned Theban, who could have 



instructed us in the arrangement of the breakfast- table. 
But this was a mystery revealed to none but Lampe. At 
leng*th Kant took this task upon himself; and apparently 
all was now settled to his satisfaction. Yet still it struck 
me that he was under some embarrassment or constraint. 
Upon this I said that, with his permission, I would take 
a cup of tea, and afterwards smoke a pipe with hjm. He 
accepted my offer with his usual courteous demeanour; but 
seemed unable to familial ise himself with the novelty of 
his situation. I was at this time sitting directly opposite 
to him; and at last be frankly told me, but with the kind- 
est and most apologetic air, that he was really under the 
necessity of begging that I would sit out of his sight; for 
that, having sat alone at the breakfast-table for conside- 
rably more than half-a- century, he could not abruptly adapt 
his mind to a change in this respect; and he found his 
thoughts very sensibly distracted. I did as he desired; the 
servant retired into an anteroom, where J|je waited within 
call; and Kant recovered his wonted composure. Just the 
same acefte passed over again, when I called at the same 
hour on a fine summer morning some months after. 

Hencefoitli all went right: or, if occasionally some little 
mistake occurred, Kant showed himself very considerate 
and indulgent, and would remark spontaneously, that a 
new servant could not be expected to know all his ways 
and humours. In one respect, however, this new man 
adapted himself to Kant’s scholarlike taste in a way which 
Lampe was incapable of doing. Kant was somewhat fas- 
tidious in matter^ of pronunciation; and Kaufmann had a 
great facility in catching the true sound of Latin words, 
the titles of books, and the names or designations of Kant’s 
'"Yriends: not one of which accomplishments could Lampe, 
the most insufferable of blockheads, ever attain to. In 



particular, I have been told by Kant’s old friends, that far 
the space of thirty-eight years, during which he had been 
in the habit of reading the newspaper published by Har- 
tung, Lampe delivered it with the same identical blunder 
on every day of publication: — "JVfr Professor, here is 
Hartmann’s journal.” Upon which Kant would reply, 
“Eh! what? — What’s that you say? Hartmann’s jour- 
nal? I tell you, it is not Hartmann’s, but Hartuug’s: 
now, repeat after me — not Hartmann’s, but Hartung’s.” 
Then Lampe, looking sulky, and drawing himself up with 
the stifi' air of a soldier on guard, and in the very same 
monotonous tone with which he had been used to sing out 
his challenge of Who goes theref would roar, “ not Hart- 
mann’s but Hartung’s.” — “Now again!” Kant would say: 
on which again Lampe roared, “Not Hartmann’s, but 
Hartung’s.” — “Now a third time,” cried Kant: on which 
for a third time the unhappy Lampe would howl out, in 
truculent despair^“Not Hartmann’s, but Hartung’s.” And 
this whimsical scene of parade duty was continually re- 
jjeated: duly as the day of publication came roflpd (viz., 
twice a-week), the irreclaimable old dunce was put through 
the same manoouvres, which were as invariably followed 
by the same blunder on the next. So that this incorri- 
gible blockhead must have repeated the same unvarying 
blunder for a hundred and four times annually (i. e., twice 
a-\^eek), multiplied into thirty-eight, as the number of 
years. For more than one-half of man’s normal life under 
the scriptural allowance, had this never - enough - to - be- 
admired old donkey foundjpred punctually'On the same iden- 
tical rock. In spite, however, of this advantage in the 
new servant, and a general superiority to his predecessor, 
Kant’s nature was too kind, too good, and too indulgent 
to all people’s infirmities but his own, not to miss the 



voice and the "old familiar face” that he had been accus- 
tomed to for forty years. And I met with what struck 
me as an affecting instance of Kant’s yearning after his 
old good-for-nothing servant in his memorandum-book; 
other people record what they wished to remember; but 
Kant had here recorded what he was to forget. " Mem. — 
February, 1802, the name of Lampe must now be remem- 
bered no more.” 

In the spring of this year, 1802, 1 advised Kant to take 
the air. It was very long since he had been out-of-doors,* 
and walking was now out of the question. But I ^thought 
tlat perhaps the motion of a carriage and the air might 
have a chance of reviving him. On the power of vernal 
sights and Sounds I did not much rely; for these had long 
ceased to affect him. Of all the changes that spring carries 
with it, there was one only that now interested Kant; and 
he longed for it with an eagerness and intensity of expec- 
tation, that it became almost painful to^witness: this was 
the return of a little bird (sparrow was it, or robin-red- 
breast that sang in his garden, and before his window. 
This bird, either the same, or one of a younger generation, 
had sung for years in the same situation; and Kant grew 
uneasy when the cold weather, lasting longer than usual, 
retarded its return. Like Lord Bacon, indeed, he had a 
child-like love for birds in general; and in particular he 
took pains to encourage the sparrows to build above the 
windows of his study; and when this happened (as it often 
did, from the deep silence whi h prevailed in the room), 
he watched theiV proceedings ^ith the delight and the 

* Wasianski hero returns thanks to some unknown person, who, hav- 
ing observed that Kant in his Jatter walks took pleasure in leaning ^ 
against a particular wall to view t^e prospect, had caused a seat to be 
hxed at that point for his use. 



tenderness whicl# others give to a human interest. To 
return to the point 1 was speaking of, Kant was at first 
very unwilling to adopt my proposal of going abroad. 
“ 1 shall sink down in the carriage,” said he, and fall to- 
gether like a heap of old rags.” But 1 persisted with a 
gentle importunity in urging him to the attempt, assuring 
him that we would return immediately, if he found the 
effort too much for him. Accordingly, upon a tolerably 
warm day of early* summer, I and an old friend of Kant’s 
accompanied him to a little place which 1 rented in the 
country. As we drove through the streets, Kant was de- 
lighted to find that he could sit upright, and bear the mo- 
tion of the carriage, and seemed to draw youthful pleasure 
from the sight of the towers and other public buildings, 
which he had not seen for years. We reached the place of 
our destination in high spirits. Kant drank a cup of coffee, 
and attempted to smoke a little. After this, he sat and 
sunned himself, listening with delight to the carolling of 
birds, which congregated in great numbers about this spot, 
lie distinguished every bird by its song, and called it by its 
right name. After staying about half-an-hour, we set ofi* 
on our homeward journey, Kant still cheeiful, but appa- 
rently satiated with his day’s enjoyment. 

1 had on this occasion purposely avoided taking him to 
any public gardens, that 1 might not disturb his pleasure 
by exposing him to the distressing gaze of public curiosity. 
However it became known in Konigsberg that Kant had 
gone out; and accordingly, as the cariiagc moved through 

* Mr Wasianski says, late in summer; but, as he elsewhere describes 
by the same expression as ** late in summer ” a day which was confess- 
edly before the longest day, and as the multitude of birds which continued 
to sing will not allow us to suppose that the sAimer could be very far 
advanced, 1 have translated accordingly. 



the streets which led homewards, there #as a general rush 
from all quarters in that direction; and, when we turned 
into the street where the house stood, we found it already 
choked up with people. As we slowly drew up to the 
door, a lane was formed in the crowd, through which Kant 
was led, I and my friend su 2 )porting him on our arms. 
Looking at the crowd, I observed the faces of many per- 
sons of rank and distinguished strangers, some of whom 
now saw Kant for. the first time, and many of them for 
the last. 

As the winter of 1802-3 approached, he complained 
more than ever of an affection of the stomach, which no 
medical man had been able to mitigate, or even to ex- 
plain. The winter passed over in a complaining way; he 
was weary of life, and longed for the hour of dismission. 
“I can be of service to the world no more,” said he, "and 
am a burden to myself.” Often I endeavoured to cheer 
him by the anticipation of excursions that we might make 
together when summer came again. On these he calcu- 
lated with so much earnestness, that he had made a regu- 
lar scale or classification of them — 1. Airings; 2. Journeys, 
3. Travels. And nothing could equal the yearning impa- 
tience expressed for the coming of spring and summer, 
not so much for their own peculiar attractions, as because 
they were the seasons for travelling. In his memorandum- 
book be made this note: — "The three summer months are 
June, July, and August;” meaning that they were the 
three months for travelling. A^'d in conversation he ex- 
pressed the feverish strength of his wishes so plaintively 
mxd afiectingly, that everybody vas drawn into powerful 
sympathy with him, and wished for some magical means 
of antedating the iipDse of the seasons. 

During this wimer his bedroom was often warmed. 


Thai was the room in which he kept his little collection of 
books, somewhere about four hundred and fifty volumes, 
chiefly presentation- copies from the authors. It ma^ 
seem strange that Kant, who read so extensively, should 
have no larger library; but he had less need of one than 
most scholars, having in his earlier years been librarian at 
the Eoyal Library of the Castle; and since then, having 
enjoyed from the liberality of Hartknoch, his publisher 
(who, in his turn, had profited by the liberal terras on wliich 
Kant had made over to him the copyright of his own works), 
the first sight of every new book that appeared. 

At the close of this winter (that is, in 1803), Kant first 
began to complain of unpleasant dreams, ^sometimes of 
very terrific ones, which awakened him in great agitation. 
Oftentimes melodies, which he had heard in earliest youth 
supg in the streets of Konigsberg, resounded painfully in 
his ears, and dwelt upon them in a way from which no 
cflbrts of abstraction could release him. These kept him 
awake to unseasonable hours; and sometimes, when after 
long watching he had fallen asleep, however profound his 
sleep might be, it was suddenly broken up by terrific 
dreams, which alarmed him beyond description. Almost 
every night the bell-rope, which communicated with a 
bell in the room above his own, where his servant slept, 
was pulled violently, and with the utmost agitation. Ko 
matter how fast the servant might hurry down, he was 
almost always too late, and was pretty sure to find his 
master out of bed, and often making Jiis way in terror to 
some other part of the house. The weakness of his feet 
exposed him to such dreadful falls on these occasions, that 
at length (but with much difficulty) lj}er8uaded him to let 
his servant sleep in the same room mh himself. 



The morbid affection of the stomach, out of which the 
dreadful dreams arose, began now to be more and more 
^stressing; and he tried various applications, which he 
had formerly been loud in condemning, such as a few 
drops of rum upon a piece of sugar, naphtha,^ &c. But 
all these were only palliatives; for his advanced age pre- 
cluded the hope of a radical cure. His dreams became 
continually more appalling: single scenes, or passages in 
these dreams, were sufficient to compose the whole course 
of mighty tragedies, the impression from which was so 
profound as to stretch far into his waking hours. Amongst 
other phantasmata more shocking and indescribable, his 
dreams coifstantly represented to him the forms of mur- 
derers advancing to his bedside; and so agitated was he 
by the awful trains of phantoms that swept past him 
nightly, that in the first confusion of awaking he gene- 
rally mistook his servant, who was hurrying to his as- 
sistance, for a murderer. In the daytime we often con- 
versed upon these shadowy illusions; and Kant, with his 
usual spirit of stoical contempt for nervous weakness of 
every sort, laughed at them; and, to fortify his. own re- 
solution to contend against them, he wrote down in his 
memorandum-book, “No surrender now to panics of dark- 
ness.” At my suggestion, however, he now burned a light 
in his chamber, so placed as that the rays might be shaded 
from his face. At first he was very averse to this, though 
gradually he became reconciled to it. ^But that he could 
bear it at all, was to me an exprespmn of the great revolu- 
tion accomplished by this terrific agency of his dreams. 
Heretofore, darkness and utter silence were the two pillars 

* For Kant’^ particular complaint, as described by otl^er biographers, 
a^i^iiarter of a grain of ^{^m, every ei^^bt hours, would have been the 
^ best remedy, peihaps a p&ftct remedy. 



on which his sleep rested: no step must approach his room; 
and as to light, if he saw but a moonbeam penetrating a 
crevice of the shutters, it made him unhappy; and, in 
fact, the windows of his bedchamber were barricaded night 
and day. But now darkness was a terror to him, and 
silence an oppression. In addition to bis lamp, therefore, 
he had now a repeater in his room. The sound was at 
first too loud, but means were taken to muffle th^hammer; 
after which both the ticking and the striking became com- 
panionable sounds to 1pm. 

At this time (spring of 1803) his appetite began to fail, 
which I thought no good sign. Many persons insist that 
Kant was in the habit of eating too much for health.* I, 
however, cannot assent to this opinion; for he ate but once 
a-day, and drank no beer. Of this liquor (I mean the strong 


* Who these worthy people were that criticised Kant's eating, is not 
irientioned. They could have had no opportunity for exercising their 
abilities on this question, except as hosts, guests, or fellow-guests; and, 
in any of those characters, a gentleman, one would suppose, must feel 
himself degraded by directing his attention to a point of that nature. 
However, the merits of the case stand thus between the parties: Kant, 
it is agreed by all his biographers, ate only once a-day; for, as to his 
breakfast, it was nothing more than a very weak infusion of tea (wtfe 
“Jachmann's Letters,” p. 163), with no bread or eatable of any kind. 
Now, his critics, it is believed, ate their way, from “motn to dewy eve,” 
through the following course of meals: 1. Breakfast early in the morning; 
2. Breakfast d la fourchette about ten a.m.; 3. Dinner at one or two; 4. 
Vesper Brod; 6. Abend Brod— all which does really seem a very fair al- 
lowance for a man who means to lecture upon abstinence at night. But I 
shall cut this matter short by stating one plain fact; there were two 
things, and no more, for which Kant had an ^ordinate craving daring 
his whole life: these were tobacco and coffee; and from both these he ab- 
stained almost altogether, merely under a sense of duty, resting probably 
upon erroneous grounds. Of the first he himself a very small 
quantity (and evei^body knows that temperance is a more difficult virtu<» 
than abstinence); of the other, none at all, the labours of his life 
were accomplished. 



black beei) he was, indeed, the most determined enemy. 
If ever a man died prematurely, Kant would say, “He has 
been drinking beer, I presume.” Or, if another were in- 
disposed, you might be sure he would ask, “ But does he 
drink beer?” And, according to the answer on this point, 
he regulated his anticipations for the patient. Strong 
beer, in short, he uniformly maintained to be a slow poison. 
Voltaire, ^by the way, had said to a young physician who 
denounced coffee under the same bad name of a “slow 
poison,” “ You’i'c right there, my frij^nd: slow it is, and hor- 
libly slow, for I have been drinking it these seventy years, 
and it has not killed me yet,” but tliis was an answer 
which, in the case of beer, Kant would not allow of 
On the 22d of April, 1803, Lis birth-day, the last which 
he lived to see, was celebiated iu a full assembly of his 
friends. This festival he had long looked forward to with 
great expectation, and delighted even to hear the progress 
made in the preparations for it. But, when the day came, 
the over-excitement and tension of expectation seemed to 
have defeated itself. He tried to appear happy; but the 
bustle of a numerous company confounded and distressed 
liim, and his spirits were manifestly forced.* He seemed 
first 40 revive into any real sense of 2 >leasure at night, 
when the company had departed, and he was undressing in 
his study. He then talked with much pleasure about the 
presents which, as usual, would be made to his servants on 
this occasion; for Kant was never happy himself, unless he 
saw all mound him happy. He was a great maker of pre- 

* The English reader will here be remindel of Wordsworth’s exquisite 
stanza: — 

*'But we are press’d by heavy laws; 

And ofleu, glad no more, 

We a /ace of joy, because 
live been glad of yore.” 



sents; but at the same time he had no toleration for the 
studied theatrical effect, the accompaniment of formal con- 
gratulations, and the sentimental pathos, with which birth- 
day presents are made in Germany.* In all this, his mascu- 
line taste gave him a sense of something and ludicrous. 

The summer of 1803 was now come, and, visiting Kant 
one day, I was thunderstruck to hear him direct me, in 
the most serious tone, to provide the funds necessary for 
an extensive foreign tour. I made no opposition, but 
asked his reasons for such a plan; he alleged the mise- 
rable sensations he had in his stomach, which were no 
longer endurable. Knowing what power over Kant a 
quotation from a Homan poet ^nd always possessed, I 
simply replied, "Post equitem sedet atra cura;” and for 
tHb present he said no more. But the touching and pa- 
thetic earnestness with which he was continually ejaculat- 
ing prayers for warmer weather, made it doubtful to me 
whether his wishes on this point ought not, partially at 
least, to be gratified; and I therefore proposed to him a 
little excursion to the cottage we had visited the year be- 
fore. "Anywhere,” said he, "no matter whither, provided it 
be far enough.” Towards the latter end of June, therefore, 

* In this, as in many other things, the taste of Kant was entirely Bng 
lish and Roman; as, on the other hand, some eminent Englishmen, 1 an 
soriy to say, have, on this very point, shown the effeminacy and falsetto 
taste of the Germans. In particular, Coleridge, describing, in “The 
Friend,” the custom amongst German children of making presents to 
their parents on Christmas Eve (a custom which he unaccountably sup- 
poses peculiar to Ratzeburg), represents the mother as “ weeping aloud 
for joy” — ^the old idiot of a father with “tears running down his face,” 
&c. &c., and all for whatl For a snuff-box, a pencilcase, or some article 
of jewellery. Now, we English agree with Kant on such maudlm display 
of stage sentimentality, and are prone to suspect that papa’s tears are the 
product of rum-punch. Tendemesr let us have tip all means, and the 
deepest you can imagine, but upon proportionate occasions, and with 
causes fitted to sustain its dignity* 




we executed this scheme. On getting into the carriage, 
the order of the day with Kant was, " Distance, distance. 
Only let us go far enough," said he: but scarcely had we 
reached the city- gates, before the journey seemed already 
to have lasted too long. On reaching the cottage, we 
found coffee waiting for us; but he would scarcely allow 
himself time for drinking it, before he ordered the carriage 
to the door; and the journey back seemed insupportably 
long to him, though it was performed in something less 
than twenty minutes. ‘‘ Is this never to have an end ? ” 
was his continual exclamation; and great was his joy 
when he found himself once more in his study, undressed, 
and in bed. And for thii^night he slept in peace, and once 
again was liberated from the persecution of dreams. 

Soon after he began again to talk of journeys, of trav^ 
in remote countries, &c., and, in consequence, we repeated 
our former excursion several times; and though the cir- 
cumstances were pretty nearly the same on every occa- 
sion, always terminating in disappointment as to the 
immediate pleasure anticipated, yet, undoubtedly, they 
were, on the whole, salutary to his spirits. In particular, 
the cottage itself, standing under the shelter of tall alders, 
with a valley silent and solitary stretched beneath it, 
through which a little brook meandered, broken by a 
waterfall, whose pealing sound dwelt pleasantly on the 
ear, sometimes, on a quiet sunny day, gave a lively de- 
light to Kant: and once, under accidental circumstances 
of summer-clouds and sunligl s, the little pastoral land- 
j5(^pe suddenly awakened a lively remembrance, which 
‘il&ad been long laid asleep, of a heavenly summer morn- 
ing in youth, which he had passed in a bower upon the 
banks of a rivulet that ran through the grounds of a 
dear and early friend, Gen. Von Lossow. The strength 



of the impression was such, that he seemed actually 
to be living over that morning again^ thinking as he then 
thought, and conversing with beloved friends that were 
no more. 

His very last excursion was in August of this year (1803), 
not to my cottage, but to the garden of a friend. On this 
particular day he manifested great impatience. It had 
been arranged that he was to meet an old friend at the 
gardens; and I, with two other gentlemen, attended him. 
It happened that our party arrived first; and thus we had 
to wait; but only for a few minutes. Such, however, was 
Kant’s weakness, and total loss of power to estimate the 
duration of time, that, after waiting a few moments, several 
hours (he fancied) must have elapsed. So that his friend 
tould not be expected. Under this impression he came 
away, and in great discomposure of mind. And so ended 
Kant’s travelling in this world. 

In the beginning of autumn, the sight of his right eye 
began to fail him; the left he had long lost the use of. 
This earliest of his losses it is noticeable that he had dis- 
covered by mere accident. Sitting down one day to rest 
himself in the course of a walk, it occurred to him that he 
would try the comparative strength of his eyes; but, on 
taking out a newspaper which he had in his pocket, he was 
surprised to find that with his left eye he could not dis- 
tinguish a letter. In earlier life he bad two remarkable 
affections of the eyes: once, on returning from a walk, he 
saw objects double for a long space of time; and twice he 
became stone-blind. Whether these accidents are to be 
considered as uncommon, I leave to the decision of oculista 
Certain it is, they gave very little disturbance to Kant; 
who, until old age had lowered the tone of his powers. 



lived in a constant state of stoical preparation for the 
worst that could befall him. I was now shocked to think 
of the degree in which his burdensome sense of dependence 
would be aggravated, if he should totally lose the power 
of sight. Even as it was he read and wrote with great 
difficulty: in fact, his writing was little better than that 
which most people can produce as a trial of skill with 
their eyes shut. From old habits of solitary study, he 
had no pleasure in hearing others read to him; and he 
daily distressed me by the pathetic earnestness of his en- 
treaties that I would have a reading-glass devised for him. 
Whatever my own optical skill (Tould suggest I tried, and 
the best opticians were sent for, to bring their glasses, 
and take his directions for altering them; but all was to 
no purpose. 

In this last year of his life, Kant very unwillingly re- 
ceived the visits of strangers; and, unless under particular 
circumstances, wholly declined them. Yet, when travel* 
Icrs had come a very gi'eat way out of their road to see 
him, I confess that I was at a loss how to conduct myself. 
To have refused too pertinaciously, could not but give me 
the air of wishing to make myself of importance.* And I 
must acknowledge, that, amongst some few instances of 
importunity and coarse expressions of low-bred curiosity, 
I witnessed, pretty generally in all ranks, a most delicate 
sensibility to the condition of the aged recluse. On send- 
ing in their cards, they would usually accompany them by 
some message, expressive of the’r unwillingness to gratify 
their wish to see him, at any risk of distressing him. The 
fact was, that such visits did distress him much; for he felt 
it a degradation to be exhibited in his helpless state, when 
he was aware of his own incapacity to meet properly the 
attention that was paid to him. Some, however, were 


admitted,* according to the circumstances of the case, 
and the accidental state of Kant’s spirits at the moment. 
Amongst these, I remember that we were particularly 
pleased with M. Otto, the same who signed the treaty of 
peace between France and England with the presentf Lord 
Liverpool (then Lord ITawkesbury). A young Russian 
also rises to my recollection at this moment, from the ex- 
cessive (and I think unaffected) enthusiasm which he dis- 
played. On being introduced to Kant, he advanced has- 
tily, took both his hands, and kissed them. Kant, who, 
from living so much amongst his English friends, hud a 
good deal of the English dignified reserve about him, and 
hated anything like scenes, appeared to shrink a little from 
this mode of salutation, and was rather embarrassed. 
However, the young man’s manner, I believe, was not at 
all beyond his genuine feelings; for next day he called 
again, made some inquiries about Kant’s health, was very 
anxious to know whether his old age was burdensome to 
him, and, above all things, entreg^ted for some little me- 
morial of the great man to carry away with him. ' By ac- 
cident the servant had found a small cancelled fragment of 
the original MS. of Kant’s "Anthropologic:” this, with 
my sanction, he gave to the Russian; who received it with 
rapture, kissed it, and then gave to the servant in return 
the only dollar he had about him; and, thinking that not 
enough, actually pulled off his coat and waistcoat, and 
forced them upon the man. Kant, whose native simplicity 
of character very much indisposed him^to sympathy with 

• To whom it appears that Kant would generally reply, upon their 
expressing the pleasure it gave them to see him, '' lu me you behold a 
poor superannuated, worn-out old nan.’* 

+ ** Present e., that Lord Liverpool who was struck by paralysis 
when Prime Minister to Geo. IV., and has now, for nearly thirty years, 
been described as t/ie late Lord LiverpooL 



any extravagances of feeling, could not, however, for1)ear 
smiling good-humouredly, on being made acquainted with 
this instance of naXvetd and enthusiasm in his young admirer. 

I now come to an event in Kant’s life which ushered in 
its closing stage. On the 8th of October, 1803, for the 
first time since his youth, he was seriously ill. When a 
student at the university, he had once suffered from an 
ague, which, however, gave way to pedestrian exercise; 
and in later years he had endured some pain from a con- 
tusion on his head; but, with these two exceptions (if 
they can be considered such), he had never (properly 
speaking) been ill. At present, the cause of his illness 
was this: his appetite had latterly been irregular, or rather 
I should say depraved; and he no longer took pleasure in 
anything but bread-and-butter and English cheese.* On 
the 7th of October, at dinner, he ate little else, in spite of 
everything that I and another friend then dining with him 
could urge to dissuade liim. For the first time I fancied 
that he seemed displeased with my importunity, as though 
I were overstepping the just line of my duties. He in- 
sisted that the cheese never had done him any harm, nor 
would now. 1 had no course left me but to hold my 
tongue; and he did as he pleased. The consequence was 

* Mr W. here falls into the ordinary mistake of confounding the cause 
and the occasion, and would leave the impression that Kant (who from 
his youth up had been a model of temperance) died of sensual indulgence. 
The cause of Kant’s /leath was clearly the general decay of the vital 
powers, and in particular the atony of the digestive organs, which must 
soon have destroyed him under any care or abstinence whatever. This 
was the cause. The accidental occasion which made the cause operative 
on the 7th of October, might or might not be what Mr W. says. But, in 
Kant's burdensome state of existence, it could not be a question of much 
importance whether his illness were to date from a 7th of October, or 
from a 7th of November. 



wliat might have been anticipated — a restless night, suc- 
ceeded by a day of memorable illness. The next morning 
all went on as usual, till nine o’clock, when Kant, who was 
then leaning on his sister’s arm, suddenly fell senseless to 
the ground. A messenger was immediately despatched 
for me; and I hurried down to his house, where I found 
him lying on his bed, which had now been removed into 
his study, speecliless and insensible. I had already sum- 
moned his physician; but, before he arrived, nature put 
forth efforts which brought Kant a little to himself. In 
about an hour he opened his eyes, and continued to mutter 
unintelligibly until towards the evening, when he rallied 
a little, and began to talk lationally. For the first time in 
his life, he was now, for a few days, confined to his bed, 
and ate nothing. On the 12th of October, he again took 
some refreshment, and would have had his favourite food; 
but I was now resolved, at any risk of his displeasure, to 
oppose him firmly. I therefore stated to him the whole 
consequences of his last indulgence, of all which he mani- 
festly had no recollection. He listened to what I said very 
attentively, and calmly expressed his conviction that I was 
perfectly in the wrong; but for the present he submitted. 
However, some days after, 1 found that he had been offer- 
ing a florin for a little bread-and- cheese, and then a dollar, 
and even more. Being again refused, he complained 
heavily; but gradually he weaned himself from asking for 
it, though at times he betrayed involuntarily how mucli 
he desired it. ® 

On the 13th of October, his usual dinner parties were 
resumed, and he was considered convalescent; but it was 
seldom indeed that he recovered the tone of tranquil 
spirits which he had preserved until his late attack. 
Hitherto he had always loved to prolong this meal, the 



only one he took — or, as he expressed it in classical phrase, 
“ coenam ducere; ” but now it was difficult to hurry it over 
fast enough for his wishes. From dinner, which terminated 
about two o’clock, he went straight to bed, and at inter- 
vals fell into slumbers; from which, however, he was re- 
gularly roused up by phantasmata or terrific dreams. At 
seven in the evening came on duly a period of great dis- 
tress, which lasted till five or six in the morning — some- 
times later; and he continued through the night alter- 
nately to walk about and lie down, occasionally tranquil, 
but more often in great agitation. 

It now became necessary that somebody should sit up 
with him, his man-servant, being wearied out with the toils 
of the day. No person seemed to be so proper for this 
office as his sister, both as having long received a very 
liberal pension from him, and also as his nearest relative, 
who would be the best witness to the fact that her illus- 
trious brother had wanted no comforts or attention in his 
last hours which his situation admitted of. Accordingly 
she was applied to, and undertook to watch him alternately 
with his footman — a separate table being kept for her, and 
a very handsome addition made to her allowance. She 
turned out to be a quiet, gentle-minded woman, who raised 
no disturbances amongst the servants, and soon won her 
brother’s regard by the modest and retiring style of her 
manners; I may add, also, by the truly sisterly affection 
which she displayed towards him to the last. 

The 8th of October had grievously affected Kant’s fa- 
culties, but had not wholly destroyed them. For short 
intervals the clouds seemed to roll away that had' settled 
upon his majestic intellect, and it shone forth as hereto- 
fore. During these moments rf brief self-possession, his 
wonted benignity returned to him; and he expressed his 



gratitude for the exertions of those about him, and his 
sense of the trouble they underwent, in a very affecting 
way. With regard to his man-servant, in particular, he 
was very anxious that he should be rewarded by liberal 
presents; and he pressed me earnestly on no account to 
be parsimonious. Indeed, Kant was uothiug less than 
princely in his use of money; and there was no occasion 
on which he was known to express the passion of scorn 
very powerfully, but when he was commenting on mean 
and penurious acts or habits. Those who knew him only 
in the streets, fancied that he was not liberal ; for he steadily 
refused, upon principle, to relieve all common beggars. 
But, on the other hand, he was most liberal to the public 
charitable institutions; secretly -also he assisted his own 
poor relations in a much ampler way than could reason- 
ably have been expected of him; and it now appeared 
that he had many other deserving pensioners upon his 
bounty; a fact that was utterly unknown to any of us, until 
his increasing blindness and other infirmities devolved the 
dut^ of paying these pensions upon myself. It must be 
recollected, also, that Kant’s whole fortune (which, exclu- 
sively of his official appointments, did not amount to more 
than 20,000 dollars) was the product of his own honour- 
able toils for nearly threescore years; and that he had 
himself sufiered all the hardships of poverty in his youth, 
though ho never once ran into any man’s debt; circum- 
stances in his history which, as they express how fully he 
must have been acquainted with the value of money, greatly 
enhance the merit of his munificence. * 

In December, 1803, he became incapable of signing his 
name. His sight, indeed, had for some time failed him 
so much, that at dinner he could not find his spoon- with- 
out assistance; and, when I happened to dine with him, I 



first cut in pieces \7hateyer was on his. plate^ next put it 
into a dessert-spoon, and then guided his hand to find the 
spoon. But his inability to sign his name did not arise 
merely from blindness: the fact was, that, from irretention 
<flP memory, he could not recollect the letters which com- 
posed his name; and, when they were repeated to him, he 
could not represent the figure of the letters in his imagi- 
nation. At the latter end of November, I had remarked 
that these incapacities were rapidly growing upon him, 
and in consequence I prevailed on him to sign beforehand 
all the receipts, <fec., which would be wanted at the end of 
the year; and afterwards, on my representation, to prevent 
all disputes, ho gave me a regular legal power to sign on 
his behalf. 

Much as Kant was now reduced, yet he had occasionally 
moods of social hilarity. His birth-day was always an 
agreeable subject to him: some weeks before his death, I 
was calculating the time which it still wanted of that anni- 
versary, and cheering him with the prospect of the rejoic- 
ings which would then take place. All your old friends,” 
said I, ‘‘will meet together, and drink a glass of champagne 
to your health.” — “ That,” said he, “ must be done upon the 
spot;” and he was not satisfied till the party was actually 
assembled. He drank a glass of wine with them, and, with 
great elevation of spirits, celebrated by anticipation this 
birth-day which he was destined never to see. 

In the latter weeks of his life, however, a great change 
toicd^lace in the tone of his spirits. At his dinner-table, 
whm heretofore %uch a cloudless spirit of joviality had 

f gned, there was now a melancholy silence. It disturbed 
n to see his two dinner companions conversing privately 
.together, whilst he himself sat like a mute on the stage 
with no part to perform. Yet ^0 have engaged him in the 



conversation would have been still more distressing, for his 
hearing was now very imperfect; the effort to hear was 
itself painful to him; and his expressions, even when his 
thoughts were accurate enough, became nearly unintelli- 
gible. It is remarkable, however, that at the very lowSt 
point of his depression, when he became perfectly incapable 
of conversing with any rational meaning on the ordinary 
affairs of life, he was still able to answer correctly and dis- 
tinctly, in a degree that was perfectly astonishing, upon 
any question of philosophy or of science, especially of phy- 
sical geography, chemistry, or natural history. He talked 
satisfactorily, in his very worst state, of the gases, and 
stated very accurately different propositions of Kepler’s, 
especially the law of the planetary motion^, And I remem- 
ber, in particular, that upon the very last Monday of his 
life, when the extremity of his weakness moved a circle of 
his friends to tears, and he sat amongst us insensible to all 
we could say to him, cowering down, or rather, I might 
say, collapsing into a shapeless heap upon his chair, deaf, 
blind, torpid, motionless — even then I whispered to the 
others, that I would engage that Kant should take his part 
in conversation with propriety and animation. This they 
found it difficult to believe. Upon which I drew close to his 
ear, and put a question to him about the Moors of Barbary. 
To the surprise of everybody but myself, he immediately 
gave us a summary account of their habits and customs; and 
told us, by the way, that in the word Algiers the fought to 
be pronounced hard (as in the English word gear). 

During the last fortnight of Kant’s li^e, he busied himself 
unceasingly in a way that seemed not merely purposeless, 
but self-contradictory. Twenty times in a minute he would 
unloose and tie his neck-handkerchief; so also with a sort 
of belt which he wore about his dressing-gown; the mo- 



ment it was clasped, he unclasped it with impatience, and 
was then equally impatient to have it clasped again. But 
no description can convey an adequate impression of the 
A^^ary restlessness with which from morning to night he 
pursued these labours of Sisyphus — doing and undoing- 
fretting that he could not do it, fretting that he had done it. 

By this time he seldom knew any of us who were about 
him, but took us all for strangers. This happened first 
with his sister, then with me, and finally with his servant. 
Such an alienation from us all distressed me more than any 
other instance of his decay: though I knew that he had not 
really withdrawn his affection from me, yet his air and 
mode of addressing me gave me constantly that feeling. 
So much the more’ affecting was it, when the sanity of his 
perceptions and his remembrances returned, but at inter- 
vals of slower and slower recurrence. In this condition, 
silent or babbling childishly, self-involved and torpidly 
abstracted, or else busy with self-created phantoms and 
delusions, waking up for a moment to trifles, sinking back 
for hours to what might perhaps be disjointed fragments 
of grand perishing reveries, what a contrast did he offer to 
that Kant who had once been the brilliant centre of the 
most brilliant circles for rank, wit, or knowledge, that 
Prussia afforded ! A distinguished person from Berlin, who 
had called upon him during the preceding summer, was 
greatly shocked at his appearance, and said, This is not 
Kant that I have seen, but the shell of Kant !” How much 
more would he have said this, if he had seen him now . 

For now came February, 1804, which was the last month 
that Kant was destined to see. It is remarkable that, in 
the memorandum-book which I have before mentioned, I 
found a fragment of an old song (inserted by Kant, and 



dated in the summer about six months before the time of 
his death), which expressed that February was the mouth 
in which people had the least weight Jo carry, for the ob- 
vious reason that it was shorter by two and by three days 
than the .others; and the concluding sentiment was in IS! 
tone of fanciful pathos to this effect — Oh, happy February! 
in which man has least to bear — ^least pain, least sorrow, 
least self-reproach !” Even of this short month, however, 
Kant had not twelve entire days to bear, for it was on the 
twelfth that he died; and, in fact, he may be said to have 
been dying from the first. He now barely vegetated; though 
there were still transitory gleams flashing fitfully from the 
embers of his ancient magnificent intellect. 

On the 3d of February the springs oi^ life seemed to be 
ceasing from their play; for from this day, strictly speak- 
ing, he ate nothing more. His existence henceforward 
seemed to be the mere prolongation of an impetus derived 
from an eighty years’ life, after the moving power of the 
mechanism was withdrawn. His physician visited him 
every day at a pj^rticular hour; and it was settled that I 
should always be there to meet him. Nine days before 
his death, on paying his usual visit, the following little cir- 
cumstance occurred, which affected us both, by recalling 
forcibly to our minds the ineradicable courtesy and good- 
ness of Kant’s nature. When the physician was announced, 

I went up to Kant, and said to him, " Here is Dr A .” 

Kant rose from his chair, and, offering his hand to the 
doctor, murmured something in which the word ^'posts’’ 
was frequently repeated, but with an'air as though he 
wished to be helped out with the rest of the sentence. Dr 
A——, who thought that, by posts, he meant the stations 
for relays of post-horses, and therefore that his mind was 
wandering, Replied, that all the horses were engaged, and 



begged him to compose himself. But Kant went 00 , with 
great effort to himself^ and added, ^'Many posts, heavy 
posts — ^then much goodness — then much gratitude.'* All 
this he said with apparent incoherence, but with great 
^yarmtb, and increasing self-possession. I meantime per- 
fectly divined what it was that Kant, under his cloud of 
imbecility, wished to say, and I interpreted accordingly. 
‘‘What the professor wishes to say, Dr A——, is this, that, 
considering the many and weighty posts which you fill in 
the city and in the university, it argues great goodness on 
your part to give up so much of your time to him ” (for Dr 

A would never take any fees from Kant); “and that 

he has the deepest sense of this goodness.” — Right,” said 
Kant, earnestly — “right 1” But he still continued to stand, 
and was nearly sinking to the gi oiind. Upon which I re- 
marked to the physician, that Kant, as I was well con- 
vinced, would not sit down, however much he suffered from 
standing, until he knew that his visiters were seated. The 
doctor seemed to doubt this; but Kant, who heard w)iat I 
said, by a prodigious efibrt confirmed my construction of 
his conduct, and spoke distinctly these words — “ God for- ^ 
bid I should be sunk so low as to forget the offices of hu- * 

When dinner was announced. Dr A took his leave. 

Another guest had now arrived, and I was in hopes, from 
the animation which Kant had so recently displayed, that 
we should to-day have a pleasant party; but my hopes were 
vain — Kant was more than usually exhausted;; and, though 
he raised a spoon to his mouth, swallowed nothing. For 
j9dl^ time everything had been tasteless to him; and 1 had 
endeavoured, but with little success, to stimulate the or- 
j;ans of taste by nutmeg, cinnamon, Ac. To-day all failed, 
and 1 could not prevail upon hhn to taste evpn a biscuit, 



ruBk^ or anything of that sort. I had once heard him say 
that several of his friends^ whose complaint was marasmus, 
had closed their illness by four or five days of entire free- 
dom from pain, but totally without appetite, and then 
slumbered tranquilly away. Through this state I appre- 
hended that he was himself now passing. 

Saturday, the 4th of February, 1 heard his guests 
loudly expressing their fears that they should never meet 
him again; and 1 could not but share these fears myself. 
However, on * 

Sunday, the 5th, I dined at his table in company with 
his particular friend Mr R. R. V. Kant was still present, 
but so weak that his head drooped upon his knees, and 
he sank down against the right side of the chair. I went 
and arranged his pillows, so as to raise and support his 
head: and, having done this, I said, “iKow, my dear sir, you 
are again in right order.” Great was our astonishment 
when ho answered clearly and audibly, in the Roman mili- 
tary phrase, ‘‘Yes, tesiudine et facie;** and immediately after 
added, Ready for the enemy, and in battle array,” His 
powers of mind were smouldering away in their ashes; 
but every now and then some lambent flame, or grand 
emanation of light, shot forth, to make it evident that the 
anoient fire still slumbered below. 

Monday, the 6th, he was much weaker and more torpid; 
he spoke not a word, except on the occasion of my ques- 
tion about the Moors, as previously stated, afid sat with 
sightless eyes, lost in himself, and manifesting no sense 
of our presence, so that we had th\ feeling of some 
mighty phantom from some forgotten century being seated 
amongst us. 

About this time, Kant had become much more tranquil 
and composed. In the earlier periods of his illness, when 



his yet unbroken strength was brought into active conflict 
with the first attacks of decay^ he was apt to be peevish^ 
and sometimes spoke roughly or even harshly to his ser- 
vants. This^ though very opposite to his natural disposi- 
tion, was altogether excusable under the circumstances. 
He could Hot make himself understood: things were there- 
fore brought to him continually which he had not asked 
for; and what he really wanted oftentimes he could not ob- 
tain, because all his efforts to name it were unintelligible. 
A violent nervous irritation, besides, affected him, from 
the*unsettling of the equilibrium in the different functions 
of his nature; weakness in one organ being made more 
palpable to ‘him by disproportionate strength in another. 
But at length the strife was finished; the whole system 
was thoroughly undermined, and now moving forward in 
rapid and harmonious progress to dissolution. From this 
time till all was over, no movement of impatience, or ex- 
pression of fretfulness, ever escaped him. 

I now visited him three times a-day; and on 

Tuesday, February 7, going about dinner-time, I found 
the usual paity of fi lends sitting down alone; for Kant 
was in bed. This was a new scene in his house, and in- 
creased our fears that his end was close at hand. However, 
having seen him rally so often, I would not run the lisk of 
leaving him without a dinner-party for the next day; and 
accordingly, at the customary hour of one, we assembled 
in his house on 

Wednesday, February 8. I paid my respects to him as 
cheerfully as possible, and order d dinner to be served. 
Kant aat at the table with us; and, taking a spoon with a 
llf^soup in it, carried it to his lips; but immediately put 
it clown again, and retired to bed, from which he never 
.rose again. 



Thursday, the 9tb, he had sunk into the weakness ot a 
dying person, and the corpsediko appearance (the facies 
Hippocratica) had already taken possession of him. I 
visited him frequently through the course of the day; and 
going for the last time about ten o’clock at night, I found 
him in a state of insensibility. 1 could not draw any sign 
from him that he knew me, and I left him to the care of 
his sister and his servant. 

Fiiday, the 10th, I went to see him at six o’clock in 
the morning. It was very stormy, and a deep snow had 
fallen in the night-time. And, by the way, I remember 
that a gang of house-breakers had forced their way through 
the premises, in order to reach Kant’s next neighbour, who 
was a goldsmith. As I diew near to his bedside, I said, 
“Good-morning.” He returned my salutation, by saying, 
“ Good- morning,” but in so feeble and faltering a voice 
that it was hardly articulate. I was rejoiced to find him 
sensible, and I asked him if he knew me. — • Yes,” he re- 
plied; and, stretching out his hand, touched me gently 
upon the cheek. Thiough the rest of the day, whenever 
I visited him, he seemed to have relapsed into a state of 

Saturday, the 11th, ho lay with fixed and ray less eyes; 
but to all appearance in pci feet peace. I asked him again, 
on this day, if he knew me. He was speechless, but he 
turned his face towards me, and made signs that 1 should 
kiss him.* Deep emotion thrilled me as I stooped down 

• ** TJiat I should kiss him :” — The pathos wlych belongs to such a 

mode of final valediction is dependent altogether for its efiect upon the 
contrast between itself and the prevailing tone of manners amongst the 
society where such an incident occurs In some parts of the Continent, 
there prevailed during the last century a most efiemiiiate practice amongst 
men of exchanging kisses as a regular mode of salutation on meeting 
after any considerable period of separation. Under such a standard oi 


to kiss his pallid lips^ for* I knew that in this solemn 
act of tenderness he meant to express his thankfulness for 
our long friendship, and to.<6ignify his last Tarewelh * I 
had never seen him confer this mark of his love upon any- 
body except once, and that was a few weeks before his 
death, when hs drew his* sister to him and kissed her. * The 
kiss which he now gave to me was the last memorial that 
he knew me. 

Whatever fluid was now offered to him passed the oeso- 
phagus with a rattling sound, as often happens with dying 
people; and there were all the signs of death being close 
at hand. 

I wished to stay with him till all was over; and, as I 

manners, the farewell kiss of the dying could have no special effect of 
pathos. But in nations bo inexorably manly as the English, any act, 
which for the moment seems to depart from the usual standard of man- 
liness, becomes exceedingly impressive when it recalls the spectator'? 
thoughts to the mighty power which has been able to work such a re- 
volution — tho power of death in its final agencies. The brave man has 
ceased to be in any exclusive sense a man: he Las become an infant in 
his weakness: he has become a woman in his craving for tenderness and 
pity. Forced by agony, he has laid down his sexual character, and re- 
tains only his generic character of a human creature. And he that i& 
manliest amongst the bystanders, is also the readiest to sympathise with 
this affecting change, Ludlow, the parliamentary general of horse, a man 
of iron nerves, and peculiarly hostile to all scenical displays of sentiment, 
mentions, nevertheless, in Lis Memoirs, with sympathising tenderness, 
the case of a cousin— that, when lying mortally wounded on the ground, 
and feeling his life to be rapidly welling away, entreated his relative to 
dismount ‘'and kiss him.” Everybody must remember the immortal 
scene on board the Victory, at four p.m. on October 21, 1806, and the 
farewell, Kiss me, Hardy I** of the mighty admiral. And here again, 
in the final val^dictioi:^ of the stoical Kant, wo read another indication, 
speaking oracularly from dying lips of nat^ares the sternest, that the last 
necessity — that call which survives all others in men of noble and im- 
passioned hearts— is the necessity of love, is the call for some relenting 
caress, such as may stimulate for a moment some phantoib image of 
female tenderness in an hour when the actual presence of females is im- 



had been amon^t the nearest witnesses of his life^ to be 
witness also of his departure; and, therefore, I never 
quitted him; except wh^n I ^jras called off for a few minutes 
to attend some private business. The whole of this night 
1 spent at his bedside. Though he had passed the day in 
a st^e of insensibility, yet in the evening he made iiitelli< 
gible signs that he wished to have his bed put in order; 
he was therefore lifted out in our arms, and the bedclothes 
and pillows being hastily arranged, he was carried back 
again. He did not sleep; and a spoonful of liquid, which 
was sometimes put to his lips, he usually pushed aside; 
but about one o'clock in the night he himself made a 
movement towards the spoon, from which I collected that 
he was thirsty; and I gave him a small quantity of wdne 
and water sweetened; but the muscles of his mouth had 
not strength enough to retain it; so that, to prevent its 
flowing back, he raised his hand to his lips, until with a 
rattling sound it was swallowed. He seemed to wish for 
more; and I continued to give him more, until he said, in 
a way that T was just able to understand, ‘‘It is enough.’ * 
And these were his last words. It is enough ! Sufiicit ! 
Mighty and symbolic words I At intervals he pushed 
away the bedclothes, and exposed his person; I constantly 
restored the clothes to their situation, and on one of these 
occasions I found that the whole body and extremities 
were already growing cold, and the pulse intermitting. 

At a quarter after three o’clock on Sunday morning, 
February 12, 1804, Kant stretched himself out as if taking 

It is eiwugh :” — The cup of life, the cup of suffering, is drained. 
For those who watch, as did the Greek and the€toman, the deep mean- 
ings that oftentimes hide themselves (without design and without con- 
sciousness on the part of the utterer) in trivial phrases, this final utter- 
ance would have seemed intensely symJi>olio. 



up a position for his final act, and settled^ into the precise 
posture which he preserved to the moment of death. The 
pulse was now no longer perceptible to the touch in his 
hands, feet, or neck. I tried every part where a pulse 
beats, and found none but in the left hip, where it continued 
to beat with violence, but often intermitted. * 

About ten o’clock in the forenoon he suffered a remark- 
able change; his eye was rigid, and hia face and lips be- 
came discoloured by a cadaverous pallor. Still, such was 
the intensity of his constitutional habits, that no trace 
appeared of the cold sweat which naturally accompanies 
the last mortal agony. 

It was near eleven o’clock when the moment of dissolu- 
tion approached. Hia sister was standing at the foot of 
the bed, his sister’s son at the head. I, for the purpose of 
still observing the fluctuations in the pulse, was kneeling 
at the bedside; and 1 called his servant to come and wit- 
ness the death of his good master. The last agony was 
now advancing to its close, if agoni/ it could bo called, 
where there seemed to be no struggle. And precisely at 
this moment, his distinguished friend Mr R. R. V., whom 
1 had summoned by a messenger, entered the room. First 
of all, the breath grew feebler; then it missed its regu- 
larity of return; then it wholly intermitted, and the ugper 
lip was slightly convulsed; after this there followed one 
feeble respiration or sigh; and after that no more; but 
the pulse still beat for a few seconds — slower and fainter, 
slower and fainter, till it ceased altogether; the mechanism 
stopped; the last emotion was at an end; and exactly at 
that moment the clock struck eleven. 

« * • * • « « 

Soon after his death the head of Kant was shaved; and, 
under the direction of Professor Knorr, a plaster cast was 


taken^ not a mask merely, but a cast of the whole head, 
cfesigned (I belieye} to enrich the craniological collection 
of Dr Gall. 

The corpse being laid out and properly attired, immense 
numbers of people in eVery rank, from the highest to the 
lowest, flocked to see it. Everybody was anxious to avail 
himself of the last opportunity he would have for entitling 
himself to say, “ I too have seen Kant.’* This went on for 
many days, during which, from morning to night, the 
house was thronged with the public. Great was the asto- 
nishment of all people at the meagreness of Kant’s appear- 
ance; and it was universally agreed that a corpse so 
wasted and fleshlcss had never been beheld. His head 
rested upon the same cushion on which once the gentle- 
men of the university had presented an address to him; 
and I thought that I could not apply it to a more honour- 
able purpose than by placing it in the coffin, as the final 
pillow of that immortal head. 

Upon the style and mode of his funeral, Kant had ex- 
pressed his wishes in earlier years by a special memoran- 
dum. He there desired that it should take place early in 
the morning, with as little noise and disturbance as pos- 
sible, and attended only by a few of his most intimate 
friends. Happening to meet with this memorandum, 
>\^ilst I was engaged at his request in arranging his 
papers, I very frankly gave him my opinion, that such an 
injunction would lay me, as the executor of his will, under 
great embarrassments; for that circumstances might very 
probably arise under which it would he next to impossible 
to carry it into effect. Upon this Kant tore the paper, 
and left the whole to ray own discretion. The fact was, I 
foresaw that the students of the university would never 
allow themselves to be robbed of this occasion for express- 



ing their veneration by a public funeral. The event showed 
that I was right; for a funeral such as Kant’s, one so 
solemn and so magnificent, the city of Kbnigsberg has 
never witnessed before or since. The public journals, and 
separate reports in pamphlets, &c.*, have given so minute 
an account of its details, that I shall here notice only the 
heads of the ceremony. 

On the 28th of February, at two o’clock in the after- 
noon, all the dignitaries of church and state, not only those 
lesideut in Konigsberg, but from the remotest parts of 
Prussia, assembled in the church of the castle. Hence 
they were escorted by the whole body of the university, 
splendidly dresaed*for the occasion, and by many military 
officers of rank, with whom Kant had always been a great 
favourite, to the house of the deceased professor; from 
which the corpse was carried by torchlight, the bells of 
every church in Konigsberg tolling, to the cathedral, which 
was lit up by innumerable wax-lights. A never-ending 
train of people followed it on foot. In the cathedral, after 
tlie usual burial litcs, accompanied with every possible 
expression of national veneration to the deceased, there 
was a grand musical service, most admiiably performed; 
at the close of which, Kant’s mortal remains were lowered 
into the academic vault; and there he now rests amo^ 
the patriarchs of the university. Peace be to nis dust; 




Several years ago, some person or other (in fact, I believe 
it was myself) published a paper from the German of Kant, 
on a very interesting question — viz , the age of our own 
little Earth. Those who have never seen that paper — a 
class of unfortunate people whom I suspect to form the 
majority in our present perverse generation — will be likely 
to misconceive its object. Kant’s purpose was, not to 
ascertain how many years the Earth had lived: no such 
barren conundrum occupied him. For, had there ever been 
any means of coercing the Earth into an honest answer on 
such a delicate point, which the Sicilian canon, Recupero, 

♦ Thoughts on Some Important Points relating to the System of the 
World ” By J. P. Nichol, Professor of Astronomy in the Univer- 

sity of Glasgow. In obedience to the facts of the case, 1 have indicated 
this particular woik of my friend Professor Nichors as having furnished 
—because in some imperfect sense it really did furnish — the text to 
which this little paper refers, and about which it may be said to hover. 
But it would be doing great injustice to the learned professor, if I should 
authorise the reader to accept so desultory a paper as an adequate and 
formal renieio of that work: and it would be doing some injustice to my- 
self, if I were supposed to have ever designed it for discharging such a 
function. Grave and scientific reviews of that book were sure to be writ- 
ten in useless abundance. And I, for my own part, if otherwise quali- 



fancied that there was,* but which, in my own opinion, 
there neither is, nor ought to be (since a man deserves to 
be cudgelled who could put such improper questions to u 
lad^ planet), still what would it amount to? What good 
would it do us to have a certificate of our dear little mo- 
ther’s birth and baptism? To tell us the positive amount 
of years through which our Earth has existed — fifty mil- 
lions, for example — would leave us in total darkness upon 
Kant’s question — viz.. What proportion does that amount 
form of the total career allotted to this planet? Is it the 
thousandth part, or the millionth? Our mother Tellus, 
beyond all doubt, is a lovely little tiling. At any rate, 
therefore, she cannot be superannuated. I am satisfied that 
she is very much admired throughout the Solar System: 
and in clear seasons, when she is seen to advantage, with 
her bonny wee pet of a Moon tripping round her like a 
lamb, I should bo glad to see the planet that could fancy 
herself entitled to sneeze at our Earth. And then, if she 

fied fbr writing such a review, should have felt no ambition for swelling 
a catalogue already certain of being in excess. My puipose was humbler, 
but also higher — viz., this: from amongst the many lelations of astro- 
nomy — 1. to man; 2. to his earthly habitation; 8. to the motions of his 
daily lifb; 4. to his sense of illimitable grandeur; 5. to his dim anticipa- 
tions of changes far overhead, concurrently with changes on earth — ^to 
select such as^might allow of {^solemn and irapasbioned, or of a gay and 
playful treatment. If, thiough the light toirent ay of fanciful images 
or allusions, tho reader catches at intervals momentary glimpses of ob- 
jects vast and awful in tho rear, a much more impressive effect is likely 
to be obtained than through any amount of scientihe di&cusbion, and, at 
any rate, all the effect that ever was contemplated. 

• iJccupero;— See “Brydonc's Travels,” some sixty or seventy years 
The canon, beiug a bencficod clergvman in the Papal Church, was 
jirally an infidel. He ^bhed exccccnngly to refute Moses; and he 
ded that he really had done so by means of some collusive assistance 
bm the layers of lava on Mount Etna. But there survives, at this day, 
very little to remind us of the canon, except an unpleasant guffaw tliat 
X * rises, at times, in solitary valleys of Etna. 


(viz.^ our Earth) kepps but one Moon, eyen that (you 
know) is an advantage as regards some people that keep 

Meantime, what Kant understood by his question is 
something that still remains to be developed. It is this: 
— Let the earth have lived any number of years that you 
suggest, still that tells us nothing about the •period of life, 
the siage^ which she may be supposed to have reached. Is 
she a child, in fact, or is she an adult? And if an adult, 
and that you gave a ball to the Solar System, is she that 
kind of person that you would introduce to a waltzing 
partner, some fiery young gentleman like Mars; or would 
you rather suggest to her the sort of partnership which 
takes place at a whist-table? Some think that our planet 
is in that stage of her life which corresponds to the play- 
ful period of twelve or thirteen in a spirited girl. Such a 
girl, were it not that she is checked by a sweet natural 
sense of feminine reserve, you might call a romp; but not 
a hoyden, observe; no horse-play; oh no, nothing of that 
sort. And these people fancy that earthquakes, volcanoes, 
and all such little escapades, will be over, will cease and 
determine,” as soon ns our Earth reaches the age of maid- 
enly bashfulness. Poor thing ! It’s quite natural, you 
know, in a healthy growing girl. A little overflow of 
vivacity, a pirouette more or less, an earthquake plm or 
minusy what harm should that do to any of us I Nobody 
takes more delight than I in the fawn-like sportiveness of 
an innocent girl, at this period of lifej^ even a shade of 
espiegUrie does not annoy me. But still my own impres- 
sions incline me rather to represent the Earth as a fine 
noble young woman, full of the pride which is so becom- 
ing to her sex, and well able to take her own part, in effie 
that, at any solitary point of the heavens, she should come 



across oue of those vulgar fussy Comets^ disposed to be 
rude and take improper liberties. 

But others there are, a class whom I perfectly abomi- 
nate, that place our Earth in the category of decaying, 
nay, of decayed women. Hair like arctic snows, failure of 
vital heat, palsy that shakes the head as in the porcelain 
toys on our mantelpieces, asthma that shakes the whole 
fabric — these they absolutely fancy themselves to se$; 
they absolutely hear the tellurian lungs wheezing, pant- 
ing, crying, Bellows to mend!” periodically as the Earth 
approaches her aphelion. 

Suddenly at this point a demur arises upon the total 
question. Kant’s very problem explodes, as Venetian 
wine-glasses of old were shivered by any treacherous 
poison they might contain. For is there, after all, any 
stationary meaning in the question? Perhaps, in reality, 
the Earth is both young and old. Young? If she is not 
young at present, perhaps she will be so in future. Old ? 
If she is not old at this moment, perhaps she has been old, 
and has a fair chance of becoming so again. In fact, she 
is a Phoenix that is known to have secret processes for re- 
building herself out of her own ashes. Little doubt there 
is but she has seen many a birth- day, many a funeral night, 
and many a morning of resurrection. For, listen: — Where 
now the mightiest of oceans rolls in pacific beauty, once 
were anchored continents and boundless forests. Where 
the south pole now shuts her frozen gates inhospitably 
against the intrusions of flesh, onco were probably accu- 
mulated the ribs of empires; man’s imperial forehead, 
woman’s roseate lips, gleamed upon ten thousand hills; 
and there were innumerable contributions to antarctic 
journals almost as good (but not quite) as our own. Even 
within our domestic limits, even where little England, in 


her south-eastern quarter^ now devolves so quietly to the 
sea her sweet pastoral rivulets, once came roaring down, 
in pojnp of waters, a regal Ganges,* that drained some 
hyperbolical continent, some Quinbus Flestriu of Asiatic 
proportions, long since gone to the dogs. All things pass 
away. Generations wax old as does a garment; but eter- 
nally God says: — “Come again, ye children of men.” 
Wildernesses of fruit, and worlds of flowers, are annually 
gathered in solitary Soutli America to ancestral graves: 
yet still the Fauna of Earth, yet still the Flora of Earth, 
yet still the Sylva of Earth, does not become superannuated, 
but blossoms in everlasting youth. Not otherwise by 
secular periods, known to us geologically as facts, though 
obscure as durations, Tellus herself, the planet, as a whole, 
is for ever working by golden balances of change and 
compensation of ruin and restoration. She recasts her 
glorious habitations in decomposing them; she lies down 
for death, which perhaps a thousand times she has suffered; 
she rises for a new birth, which perhaps for the thousandth 
time has glorified her disc. Hers is the wedding-garment, 
hers is the shroud, that eternally is being woven in the 
loom of palingenesis. And God imposes upon her the awful 
necessity of working for ever at her own grave, yet of lis- 
tening for ever to his far-off trumpet of resurrection. 

If this account of the matter bo just, and were it not 
treasonable to insinuate the possibility of an error against 
so great a swell as Immanuel Kant, one would be inclincf^ 

— ^ , 

* ** Ganges :** — Br Nichol calls it by this nann? for the purpose of ex- 
pressing its grandeur; and certainly, in breadth, in diifusion at all times, 
but especially in the rainy season, the Ganges is the supreme river in oui 
British orient. Else, as regards the body of water discharged, the abso- 
lute payments made into the sea's exchequer, and the majesty of column 
riding downwards f^om the Himalaya, 1 believe that, since Sir Alexander 
Barnes’s measurements, the Indus ranks foremost by a long chalk. 


to fancy that Mr Kant had really been dozing a little on 
this occasion; or, agreeably to his own illustration else- 
where, that he had realised the pleasant picture of one 
learned doctor trying to milk a he-goat, whilst another 
doctor, equally learned, holds the milk-pail below.* And 
there is ai)parently this two-edged embarrassment pressing 
upon the case — that, if our dear excellent mother the 
Earth could be persuaded to tell us her exact age in Julian 
years, still that would leave us all as much in the dark as 
ever: since, if the answer were, "Why, children, at my 
next birth-day I shall count a matter of some million cen- 
turies,” we should still be at a loss to value her age: 
Would it mean that she was a mere chicken, or that she 
was "getting up in years?” On the jother hand, if (de- 
clining to state any odious circumstantialities) she were 
to reply, "No matter, children, for my precise years, which 
are disagreeable remembrances; I confess generally to 
being a lady of a certain age” — here, in the inverse order, 
given the valuation of the age, we should yet be at a loss 
for the absolute years numerically: would a "certain age” 
mean that " mamma” was a million, or perhaps not much 
above seventy thousand! 

Every way, you see, reader, there are difficulties. But 
two things used to strike me as unaccountably overlooked 
by Kant; who, to say the truth, was profound — yet at no 
time very agile — in the character of his understanding. 
First, what age now might we take our brother and sister 
planets to be? iPor this determination as to a point in their 
constitution, will ^io something to illustrate our own. Wo 

* Kant applied this illustration to the case; where one worshipful 
sql^r proposes some impossible problem (as the squaring of the circle, 
os die perpetual motion), which another worshipful scholar .sits down to 
ijpfve. The reference was of course to Virsil’a lin^" Atque idem jungat 
vulpes, et mvigeat hircos,** 


Bre as good as they, I hope, any day; perhaps, in a growl, 
one might insinuate — letter. It’s not at all likely that 
ther^ can be any great disproportion of age amongst chil- 
dren of the same household: and therefore, since Kant 
always countenanced the idea that Jupiter had not quite 
finished the upholstery of his extensive premises, as a com- 
fortable residence for man, Jupiter having, perhaps, a fine 
family of mammoths, but in Kant’s opinion as yet no family 
at all of “ humans,” Kant was bound, ex analogo, to hold 
that any little precedency in the trade of living, on the part 
of our own mother Earth, could not count for much in the 
long run. At Newmarket or Doncaster, the start is 
seldom mathematically true: trifling advantages will sur- 
vive all human trials after abstract equity; and the logic 
of this case argues, that any few thousands of years by 
which Tellus may have got ahead of Juj)iter, such as the 
having finished her Koman Empire, finishjsd her Crusades, 
and finished her French Eevolution, virtually amounts to 
little or nothing; indicates no higher proportion to the 
total scale upon which she has to run, than the few tickings 
of a watch by which one horse at the start for the Leger is 
in advance of another. When checked in our chronology 
by each other, it transpiics that, in effect, we are but exe- 
cuting the nice manoeuvre of a start; and that the small 
matter of three or four thousand years, by which we may 
have advanced our own position beyond some of our plane- 
tary rivals, is but the outstretched neck of an uneasy horse 
at Doncaster, This is one of the data overlooked by Kant; 
and the less excusably overlooked, because it was his own 
peculiar doctrine — that uncle Jupiter ought to be con- 
sidered -a greenhorn. Suppose, then, that Jupiter is a 
younger brother of our mamma; yet, if he is a brother at 
all, he cannot be so very wide of our own chronology; and 



therefore the first datum overlooked by Kant was — the 
analogy of our whole planetary system. A second datum, 
as it always occurred to myself, might reasonably enough 
be derived from the intellectual vigour of us men. If 
our mother could, with any show of reason, be considered 
an old decayed lady, snoring stentorously in her arm-chair, 
there would naturally be some aroma of phthisis, or apo- 
plexy, beginning to form about ws, that are her children. 
But IS there 1 If ever Dr Johnson said a true word, it was 
in the reply which he made upon this question to tlie Scot- 
tish judge, Burnett, so well known to the world as Lord 
Monboddo. The judge, a learned man, but obstinate as a 
mule in certain prejudices, had said, querulously, “Ah, 
doctor, we are poor creatures, we men of the eighteenth 
century, by comparison with our forefathers ! ” — “ Oh no, 
my lord,*^ said Johnson, “we are quite as strong as our 
ancestors, and a great deal wiser.” Yes; our kick is, to 
the full, as dangerous, and our logic does three times as 
much execution. This would be a complex topic to treat 
effectively; and I wish merely to indicate the opening 
which it offers for a most decisive order of arguments in 
such a controversy. If the Earth were on her last legs, 
we her children could not be very strong or healthy. 
"Whereas, in almost every mode of intellectual power, we 
are a match for the most conceited of elder generations; 
and in sbme modes we have energies exclusively our own. 
Amongst a thousand indications of strength and budding 
youth, I will mention two: — Is it likely, is it plausible, 
that w^e children oi Earth should just begin to find out 
effective* methods by steam of traversing land and sea, 
wKjill the human race had a summons to leave both? Is 
It tiot, on the contrary, a clear presumption that the great 
career of earthly nations is but on the point of opening, 


when the main obstacles to effectual locomotion^ and there- 
fore to extensive human intercourse^ are first of all begin- 
ning to give way? Secondly, I ask- peremptorily, Does it 
stand with good sense, is it reasonable, that Earth is 
waning, science drooping, man looking downward, pre- 
cisely in that epoch when, first of all, man’s eye is arming 
itself for looking effectively into the mighty depths of 
space ? A new era for the human intellect, upon a path 
that lies amongst its most aspiring, is promised, is inau- 
gurated, by Lord Eosse’s almost awful telescope. 

Wlj^t ‘is it, then, that Lord Eosse has accomplished? 
He has accomplished that which once the condition of the 
telescope not only refused its permission to hope for, but 
expressly bade man to despair of. Once, and not very 
long ago, it was said, Hope for no further improvement of 
the telescope: and why? Because, concurrently with all 
increase in the space-penetrating power, there arises an 
increasing confusion in the images reflected. As the 
power of this instrument advances in one direction, corre- 
spondingly it recedes in another. This evil, however, was 
surmounted by others: and a new career was opened to 
the telescope with a new range of powers. These powers 
— how have they been used by Lord Eosse ? What is it 
that he has revealed? Most truly we may say, that he 
has revealed more by far than he found. The theatre to 
which he has introduced us is immzdmrahhj beyond the 
old one which he found. To say that he found, in the 
visible universe, a little wooden theatre of Thejpis, a ire- 
ieau or shed of vagrants, and that hfc presenteef us, at a 
price of incalculable anxiety, with a Eoman colosseum — 
that is to say little. Columbus, when he introduced the Old 
World to the New, did in fact only introduce the majority 
to the minority; but Lord Eosse has introduced the mi- 



nority to tlie majority. Augustus Crosar made it his boast, 
that he had found the city of Borne built of brick, and that 
ho left it built of marble: lateritiam invenit, marmoream re- 
liquiU Lord Bosse may say, even if to-day he should die, 
“ I found God’s universe represented for human conve- 
nience, even after all the sublime discoveries of Herschel, 
upon a globe or spherical chart having a radius of one 
hundred and fifty feet; and I left it sketched upon a simi- 
lar chart, keeping exactly the same scale of proportions, 
but now elongating its radius into one thousand feet.” 

Great is the mystery of Space, greater is the mystery of 
Time. Either mystery grows upon man, as man hinv?clf 
grows; and either seems to be a function of the godlike 
which is in man. In reality, the depths and the heights 
which are in mari, the depths by which he searches, the 
heights by which he aspires, are but projected and n^ade 
objective externally in the three dimensions of space which 
are outside of him. He trembles at the abyss into which 
his bodily eyes look down, or look up; not knowing that 
abyss to be, not always consciously suspecting it to be, but 
by an instinct written in his prophetic heart feeling it to 
be, boding it to be, fearing it tp be, and sometimes hoping 
it to be, the mirror to a mightier abyss that will one day 
be expanded in himself. Even as to the sense of space, 
which is the lesser mastery than time, I know not whether 
the reader has remarked that it is one which swells upon 
man with the expansion of his mind, and that it is pro- 
bably peculiar to the mind of man. An infant of a year 
old, or (^tentimes eVen older, takes no notice of a sound, 
hoji^nver loud, which is a quartt/-of-a-mile removed, or 
in a distant chamber. And brutes, even of the most 
"^larged capacities, seem not to have any commerce with 
distance: distance is probably not revealed to them except 


indirectly. An animal desire, or a deep animal hostility, 
may render sensible a distance which else would not be 
sensible; but not render it sensible as a distance. Hence 
perhaps is explained, and not out of any self-oblivion from 
higher enthusiasm, a fact that often has occurred, of deer, 
or hares, or foxes, and the pack of hounds in pursuit, chaser 
and chased, all going headlong over a precipice together. 
Depth or height does not readily manifest itself to them; 
so that any strong motive is sufficient to overpower the 
sense of it. Man only has a natural function for expand- 
ing, on an illimitable sensoriuni, the illimitable growths of 
space. Man, coming to the precipice, reads his danger; 
the brute perishes: man is saved; but the horse is saved 
bydiis rider. 

If this sounds in the ear of some a doubtful refinement, 
the doubt applies only to the lowest degrees of space. 
For the highest, it is ceitain that brutes have no percep- 
tion. To man is as much reserved the prerogative of per- 
ceiving space in its higher extensions, as of geometiically 
constructing the relations of simee. And the biute is no 
more capable of apprehending abjsses through his eye, 
than he can build upwards or can analyse downwards the 
aerial synthesis of Geometry, Such, therefore, as is space 
fbr the grandeur of man's perceptions, such as is space for 
the benefit of man’s towering mathematic speculations, 
such — 1\ e., of that nature — is our debt to Lord Eosse — as 
being the philosopher who has most pushed back the 
frontiers of our conquests upon this exclusive inheritance 
of man. We have all heard of a king that, sitting on the 
sea-shore, bade the waves, as they began to lave his feet, 
upon their allegiance to retire. That was said not vainly 
or presumptuously, but in reproof of sycophantic courtiers. 
HoW| however, we see in good earnest another man, wielding 



another kind of sceptre^ and sitting enthroned upon the 
shores of infinity, that says to the ice which had frozen up 
our progress, “Melt thou before my breath!” that says to the 
rebellious nclulas^ “Submit, and burst into blazing worlds!” 
that says to the gates of darkness, “Eoll back, ye barriers, 
and no longer hide from us the infinities of God ! ” 

If on some moonless night, in some fitting condition of 
the atmosphere. Lord Eosse would permit the reader and 
myself to walk into the front drawing-room of his telescope, 
then I might say to my companion, Come, and 1 1\511 show 
you what is sublime! In fact, what I am going to lay before 
him from Dr Nichol’s work is, or at least would bo (when 
translated into Hebrew grandeur by the mighty telescope), 
a step above even that object which some four-and-thtrty 
years ago in the British Museum struck me as simply the 
sublimest sight which in this sight-seeing world I had 
seen. It was the Memnon’s head, then recently brought 
from Egypt. I looked at it, as the reader must suppose, in 
order to understand the depth which I have here ascribed 
to the impression, not as a human, but ns a symbolic head; 
and what it symbolised to me were: — 1, The peace which 
passetli all understanding. 2. The eternity which baffles 
and confounds all faculty of computation; the eternity 
which had been, the eternity which was to be. 3. The 
diffusive love, not such as rises and falls upon waves of 
life and mortality, not such as sinks and swells by undu- 
lations of time, but a procession — an emanation from some 
ni}stery of endless dawn. You durst not call it a smile 
that radiated from the lips; the radiation was too awful 
to j^othe itself in adumbiations or memorials of flesh. 

that mode of sublimity, perhaps, I still adhere to my 
Jt-st opinion, that nothing so great was ever beheld. The 
itmosphere for this, for the Memnon, was the breathless- 


ness which belongs to a saintly trance; the holy thing seemed 
to live by silence. But there is a picture^ the pendant of. 
the Memnon, there is a dreadful cartoon, from the gallery 
which has begun to open upon Lord Rosse’s telescope, 
where the appropriate atmosphere for investing it must be 
jlrawn from another silence, from the frost and from the 
eternities of death. "It is the famous nebula in the constel- 
lation of Orion; famous for the unexampled defiance with 
which it resisted all approaches from the most poteftt of 
former telescopes; famous for its frightful magnitude, and 
for the frightful depth to which it is sunk in the abysses 
of the heavenly wilderness; famous just now for the sub- 
mission with which it has begun to render up its secrets 
to the all-conquering telescope; and famous in all time 
coming for the horror of the regal phantasma which it 
has perfected to eyes of flesh. Had Milton’s ‘‘ incestuous 
mothe%” with her flcshless son, and with the warrior angel, 
his father, that led the rebellions of heaven, been suddenly 
unmasked by Lord Rossc’s instrument, in these dreadful 
distances before which, simply as expressions of resistance, 
the mind of man shudders and recoils, there would have 
been nothing more appalling in the exposure; in fact, it 
would have been essentially the same exposure: the same 
expression of power in the detestable phantom, the same 
rebellion in the attitude, the same pomp of malice in the 
features towards a universe seasoned for its assault. 

Description of the Nebula in Orion,* as forced to show out 

* In reply to various dissenting opinions wldcli Lave reached me 
on this subject from difierent quarters, it has become necessary to say 
a word or two upon this famous nebula in Orion. All such appearances, 
whether seen in the iiro, or in the clouds, or in the arbitrary combina- 
tions of tho stars, are read differently by different people. Even whefe 
the grouping is exactly the same, bfiing so rigorously limited as to exclude 
all notion of caprice, the result may yet be very different. The expres- 



hy Lord Bosse , — ^You see a head thrown back, and raising 
it, face (or eyes, if eyes it had) in the very anguish of 
hatred, to some unknown heavens. What should be its 
skull wears what might be an Assyrian tiara, only ending 
behind in a floating train. This head rests upon a beau- 
tifully developed neck and throat. All power being given, 
to the awful enemy, he is beautiful where he pleases, in 
order to point and envenom his ghostly ugliness. The 
mouth, in that stage of the apocalypse which Sir John 
Herschel .was able to arrest in his eighteen-inch mirror, is 
amply developed. Brutalities unspeakable sit upon the 
upper lip, which is confluent with a snout; fbr separate 
nostrils there are none. Were it not for this one defect of 
nostrils; and, even in spite of this defect (since, in so mys- 

eion altogether changes, if the key-note is differently interpreted: and 
this difference will be much greater, if any latitude is allow<|| to the 
original combination of those starry elements out of which the particular 
synthesis is obtained. Aware of all this, I cannot complain of those who 
have not been able to read the same dreadful features in the Orion nebula 
as I myself have road. But two classes of objectors I am entitled to repel 
more peremptorily — viz., those who have not taken the trouble to look at 
Professor Nichol’s portrait of this nebula in the right position: for it hap- 
pens that, in the professor’s book, it is placed upside down as regards the 
natural position of a human head. Secondly, and still more, 1 am en- 
titled to complain of others, whoso sole objection is, that the earliest 
revelation of this nebular apparition by Lord Bos&c’s telescope has by the 
same telescope been greatly modified. What of that t Who doubts that 
it would be modified? It is enough that once, in a sihgle stage of the 
examination, this apparition put on the figure here represented, and for 
a momentary purpose here dimly deciphered. Take Wordsworth’s fine 
sonnet upon cloud mimicries, drawn from “all the fuming vanities of 
earth,” either that on tVe llamilton Hills in Yorkshire, AOr that from the 
plains ^f France, or that labyrinth of terraces and towers which revealed 
itei^in the very centre of a storm (see th^ fourth book of the ** Excur- 
1 ^^*^ — would it have been any rational objection to these grand pictures 
the whole had vanished within the hour? He who fancies that, does 
not understand the original purpose i^holding up a mirror of description 
to appearances so grand, and in a dim sense often so symbolio. 


terious a mixture of the angelic and the brutal, we may 
suppose the sense of odour to work by some compensatory 
organ), one is reminded by the phantom’s attitude of a 
passage ever memorable, in Milton: that passage, I mean, 
where Death first becomes aware, soon after the original 
trespass, of his own future empire over man. The meagre 
shadow” even smiles (for the first time and the last) on 
apprehending his own abominable bliss, by apprehending 
from afar the savour ‘‘of mortal change on earth:” — 

''Such a scent” (he says) “I draw 
Of carnage, prey innumerable.” 

As illustrating the attitude of the phantom in Orion, let . 
the reader allow me to quote the tremendous “passage— 

“ So saying, with delight he snuflTd the smell 
Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock 
Of ravenous fowl, though ilbany a league remote. 

Against the day of battle, to a field, 

.Where armies lie encamp’d, come flying, lured 
With scent of living carcases design'd 
For death, the following day, in bloody fight; 

So scented the giim feature, and upturn’d 
His nostril wide into the murky air, 

Sagacious of his quarry from so far.”* 

But the lower lip, which is drawn inwards with the 
curve of a marine shell — oh, what a convolute of cruelty 
and revenge is Cruelty! — to whom? Revenge!— 

for what? Pause not to ask; but look upwards to other 
mysteries. In the very region of his temples, driving it' 
self downwards into his cruel brain, and breaking the con- 
tinuity of his diadem, is a horrid chasm, a ravine, a shaft, 

— — f 

♦ I have never met with any notice of Milton’s obligation to Lucan 
in this tfemendous passage; perhaps the most sublime, all things oon- 
sidered, that exists in human literature. The words in Lucan close 

“ Et^nare sagaci 

Aera non sanom, taotumque cadavere sensit.” 



tliat many centuries, would not traverse; and it is serrated 
on its posterior wall with a harrow that is partly hidden. , 
From the anterior wall of this chasm rise, in vertical 
directions, two processes; one perpendicular, and rigid as. 
a horn, the other streaming forward before some porten- 
tous breath. What these could be, seemed doubtful; but 
now, when further examinations by Sir John Herschel, at 
the Cape of Good Hope, have filled up the scattered out- 
line with a rich umbrageous growth, one is inclined to re- 
gard them as the plumes of a sultan. Dressed he is, 
therefore, as well as armed. And finally comes Lord 
.Eosse, that glorifies him with the jewellery^ of stars: he 
is now a vision “to dream of, not to tell:” he is ready for 
the worship of those that are tormented in sleep: and the 
stages of hia solemn uncovering by astronomy, first by 
Sir W. Ilorschel, secondly by his sou, and finally by Lord 
Eosse,.is like the reversing of some heavenly doom, like 
the raising one after another of the seals that had been 
sealed by the angel in the Revelation. 

Herschel the elder, having greatly improved the tele- 
scope, began to observe with special attention a class of re- 
markable phenomena in the starry world hitherto unstu- 
died — viz., milky spots in various stages of diffusion. The 
nature of these appearances soon cleared itself up thus far, 

** The jewellery of stars :** — And one thing is very remarkable, viz., that 
not only the stars justify this name cf jewellery, as usual, by the life of 
their splendour, but also, in this case, by their arrangement. No jeweller 
could have set, or dispored with more art, the magnificent quadrille of 
stars which is placed immediately below the upright plume. There is 
also another, a truncated quadrille, wantiLg only the left hand star (or 
you ]^ht call it a bisected lozenge) placed on the diadem, but obliquely 
pla^ as regards the curve of that diadem. Two or three other arrange- 
znehfs are striking, though not equally so, both from their regularity and 
(tom their repeating each other, as the forms in a kaleidoscope. 


that gCDcrally they were found to be starry worlds, sepa- 
rated from ours by inconceivable distances, and in that way 
concealing at first their real nature. The whitish gleam 
was the mask conferred by the enormity of their remotion. 

This being so, it might have been supposed that, as was 
the faintness of those cloudy spots or nehdcOj such was the 
distance. But that did not follow: for, in the treasury of 
nature, it turned out that there were other resources for 
modifying the powers of distance, for muffling and un- 
muffling the voice of stars. Suppose a world at the dis- 
tance x; which distance is so great as to make the mani- 
festation of that world weak, milky, nebular. Now let 
the secret power that wields these awful orbs push this 
world back to a double distance 1 that should naturally 
make it paler and more dilute than ever: and jet, by 
pression, by deeper centralisation, this effect shall bo de- 
feated; by forcing into far closer neighbomhood the stais 
which compose this world, again it shall gleam out brighter 
when at 2 a? than when at x. At this point of compression, 
let the great moulding power a second time push it back ; 
and a second time it will grow faint. But once more let 
this world be toitured into closer compression, again let 
the screw be put upon it, and once again it shall shake off 
the oppression of distance as the dew- di ops are sliaken 
from a lion’s mane. And thus, in fact, the mysterious 
architect plays at hide and-seek with his worlds. “I will 
hide it,” he says, “ and it shall be found again by man; I 
will withdraw it into distances that shall seem fabulous, and 
again it shall apparel itself in glorious Kght; a third time I 
will plunge it into aboriginal darkness, and upon the vision 
of man a third tiuae it shall rise with a new epiphany.” 

But, says the objector, there is no such world; there is 
DO world that has thus been driven back, and depressed 



from one deep to a lower deep. Granted: but the same 
effect, an illustration of the same law, is produced equally, 
whether you take four worlds, all of the same n^agnitude, 
and plunge them simultaneously into four different abysses, 
sinking by graduated distances one below another, or take 
one world, and plunge it to the same distances successively. 
So in geology, when men talk of substances in different 
stages, or of transitional states, they do not mean that they 
have watched the same individual stratum or phenomenon^ 
exhibiting states removed from each other by depths of 
many thousand years; how could they? but they have seen 
one stage in the case A, another stage in the case B. • 
This point settled, let it now be remarked, that Herschel’s 
resources enabled liim to unmask many of these nehulcs: 
stars they were, and stars he forced them to own them- 
selves. Wliy should any decent world wear an alias f 
There was nothing, you know, to be ashamed of in being 
an honest cluster of stars. Indeed, they seemed to be sen- 
sible of this themselves, and they now yielded to the force 
of Herschers arguments so far as to show themselves in 
the new character of nehulcc spangled with stars; these are 
the stellar nehulcc; quite as much as you could expect in 
so short a time: Borne was not built in a day: and one 
must have some respect to stellar feelings. It was noticed, 
however, that where a bright haze, and not a weak milk- 
and-water haze, had revealed itself to the telescope, this, 
arising from a case of compresmn (as previously explained), 
required very little increase of telescopic power to force 
him into a fuller confession. He made a clean breast of 
it. But at length came a dreadful anomaly, A nebula’’ 
in the constellation Andromeda turned restive; another in 
Orion, I grieve to say it, still more so. I confine myself 
to the latter. A very low pow^r sufficed to bring him to 


a slight coDfession, which in fact amounted to nothing; 
the very highest would not persuade him to show a star. 
And Herschel was thus led to infer two classes of nehulce — 
one that were stars^ and another that were not stars^ nor 
ever were meant to be stars. Yet that was premature: ho 
found at last^ that^ though not raised to the peerage of stars, 
finally they would be so: they were the matter of stars, and 
by gradual condensation would become suns, whose atmo- 
sphere, by a similar process of condensing, would become 
planets, capable of brilliant literati and of philosophers, in 
several volumes octavo. So stood the case for a long 
time; it was settled to the satisfaction of Europe that there 
were two classes^f nehulce — one that were worlds, one that 
were noty but only the pabulum of future worlds. Some, in 
fact, were worlds in essey but some only in posse. Silence 
arose. A call was heard for Lord Bosse ! and immediately his 
telescope walked into Orion; destroyed the supposed mat- 
ter of stars; but, in return, created immeasurable worlds. 
As a hint for apprehending the delicacy and difficulty 
of the process in sidereal astronomy, let the inexperienced 
reader figure to himself these separate cases of perplexity: 
1. A perplexity where the dilemma arises from the colli- 
sion between magnitude and distance; — is the size less, or 
the distance greater? 2. Where the dilemma arises 
between motions, a motion in ourselves doubtfully con- 
founded with a motion in some external body; or, 3. 
Where it arises between possible positions of an object: is 
it a real proximity that we see between two stars, or 
simply an apparent proximity from lying in the same 
visual line, though in far other depths of space? As re- 
gards the first dilemma, we may suppose two laws, A and 
B, absolutely in contradiction, laid down at starting: A, 

that all fixed stars are precisely at the same distance; in 
u 2 . ' . 1 * 



this case every difference in the apparent magnitude will 
indicate a corresponding difference in the real magnitude, 
and will measure that difference. B, that ‘all the fixed 
stars are precisely of the same magnitude; in which case, 
every variety in the size will indicate a corresponding dif- 
ference in the distance; and will measure that difference. 
Nor could we imagine any exception to these inferences 
from A or from B, whichever of the two were assumed, 
unless through optical laws that might not equally affect 
objects under different circumstances; I mean, for instance, 
that might suffer a disturbance as applied under hypoth. 
B, to different depths in space, or under hypoth. A, to dif- 
ferent arrangements of structure in the st^r. But thirdly, 
it is certain that neither A nor B is the abiding law: and 
next, it becomes an object, by science and by instruments, 
to distinguish more readily and more certainly between 
the cases wliere the distance has degraded the size, and 
the cases where the size, being really less, has caused an 
exaggeration of the distance: or, again, where the size 
being really less, yet co-operating with a distance really 
greater, may degrade the estimate (though travelling in a 
right direction) below the truth; or again, where the size 
being really less, yet counteracted by a distance also less, 
may equally disturb the truth of humlin measurements, 
and so on. 

A second large order of equivocating appearances will 
arise, not as to magnitude, but as to motion. If it could 
be a safe assumption, that the system to which our planet 
is attached were abSolutely fixed an ^ motionless, except as 
regards its own inlet nal relations of movement, then every 
change outside of us, every motion that the registers of 
astronomy had established, would be objective, and not 
subjective. It would be safe to pronounce at once that it 


was a motion in the object contemplated^ not in the subject 
contemplating. Or, reversely, if it were safe to assume, as 
a universal law, that no motion was possible in the starry 
heavens, then every change of relations in space, between 
ourselves and them, would indicate and would measure a 
progress, or regress, on the part of our solar system, in 
certain known directions. But now, because it is not safe 
to rest in either assumption, the range of possibilities for 
which science has to provide is enlarged; the immediate 
difficulties arc multiplied; but with the result (as in tho 
former case) of reversionally expanding the powers, and 
consequently the facilities, lodged both in the science and 
in the arts ministerial to the science. Thus, in the con- 
stellation Cygnus, there is a star gradually changing its re- 
lation to^our system, whose distance from ourselves (as Dr 
Nichol tells us) is ascertained to be about six hundred and 
seventy thousand times our own distaneo from the sun — 
that is, neglecting minute accuracy, about six hundred and 
seventy’thousand stages of one hundred millions miles each. 
This point being known, it falls within the arts of astro- 
nomy to translate this -apparent angular motion into 
miles; and, presuming this change of relation to be not in 
the star, but really in ourselves, we may deduce the velocity 
of our course, wo may enter into our log daily the rate at 
which our Whole solar system is running. Bessel, it seems, 
the eminent astronomer who died lately, computed this 
velocity to be such (viz., three times that of our own earth 
in its proper orbit) as would carry us to the star in fbrty- 
one thousand years. But, in the meantime, the astronomer 
is to hold in reserve some small share of his attention, 
some trifle of a side-glance, now and then, to the possibility 
of an error, after all, in the main assumption: he must 
watch the indications, if any such should arise, that not 



ourselves, bufr the star in Cygnus, is the real party con- 
cerned, in drifting at this shocking rate, with no prospect 
of coming to an anchorage.* 

Another class, and a frequent one, of equivocal pheno- 
mena — phenomena that are reconcilable indifferently with 
either of two assumptions, though less plausibly reconciled 
with the one than with the other — concerns the position of 
stars that seem connected with each other by systematic 
relations, and wliich yet 7nay lie in very different depths of 
space, being brought into seeming connection only by the 
human eye. There have been, and there are, cases where 
two stars dissemble an interconnection which they really 
havBy and other cases where they simulate an interconnec- 
tion which they have not All these cases of simulation 
and dissimulation torment the astronomer by multiplying 
his perplexities, and deepening the difficulty of escaping 
them. He cannot get at the truth: in many cases, magni- 
tude and distance are in collusion with each other to de- 
ceive him; motion subjective is in collusion with motion 
objective; duplex systems are in collusion with fraudulent 

• It is worth adding at this point, whilst the reader remembers without 
effort the numbers, viz., forty-one thousand years, fbr the time (the space 
being our own distance from the sun repeated six hundred and seventy 
thousand times), what would he the time required for reaching, in the 
body, that distance to which Lord Kosbo's six-feet mirror has so recently 
extended our vision. The time would be, as Dr Nichol cotnputes, about 
two hundred and fifty millions of years, supposing that our rate of travell- 
ing was about three times that of our earth in its orbit. Now, as the 
velocity is assumed to be the same in both cases, the ratio between the 
distance (already so tremendous) of Bessr 1*8 61 Cygni, and that of Lord 
Bosse's farthest frontier, fs as forty-one thousand to two hundred and fifty 
millions. This is a simple rule-of-thrce problem for a child. And the 
answer to it will, perhaps, convey the simplest expression of the super- 
human power lodged in the new telescope: as is the ratio of forty-one 
thousand to two hundred and fifty million, so is the ratio of oUr own 
distance from the sun multiplied by six hundred and seventy thousand, 
to the outermost limit of Lord Bbsse's sidereal vision. 


stars^ having no real partnership whatever, but mimicking 
such a partnership by means of the limitations or errors 
affecting the human eye, where it can apply no other sense 
to aid or to cprrect itself. So that the business of astro- 
nomy, in these days, is no sinecure, as the reader perceives. 
And, by another evidence, it is continually becoming less 
of a sinecure. Formerly, one or two men — Tycho, sup- 
pose, or, in a later age, Cassini, Horrox, and Bradley — ^had 
observatories: one man, suppose, observed the stars for all 
Christendom; and the rest of Europe observed htm. But 
now, up and down Europe, from the deep blue of Italian 
skies* to the cold frosty atmospheres of St Petersburg and 
Glasgow, the stars are* conscious of being watched every- 
where; and if all astronomers do not publish their obser- 
vations, all use them in their speculations. New and bril- 
liantly-appointed observatories are rising in every latitude, 
or risen; and none, by the way, of these new-born obser- 
vatories is more interesting, from the circumstance of its 
position, or more 2^icturesqiie to a higher organ than the 
eye — viz., to the human heart — ^than the New Observatory 
raised by the University of Glasgow. 

The New Observatory of Glasgow is now, I believe, 
finished; and the only fact connected with its history that 
was painful, as embodying and recording that Vandal 
alienation from science, literature, and all their interests, 
which has ever marked our^too haughty and Caliph-Omaiv 
like British Government, lay in the circumstance that the 
glasses of the apparatus, the whole mounting of the esta- 

* * blue of Italian shies — Which deep blue, however, is denied 
by some people, who contend that, though often introduced into the pic- 
tures of the great Italian masters, since the realities of nature must be 
continually modified by the learned artist for purposes of efiect, in reality 
the skies of Italy are as often of a pale French grey as those of more 
northern lands. 



blishment, in so far as it was a scientific establishment, and 
even the workmen for putting up the machinery, were im- 
ported from Bavaria. We, that once bade the world stand 
aside when the question arose about glasses, or the gradu- 
ation of instruments, were now literally obliged to stand 
cap in hand, bowing to Mr Somebody, successor of Frauen- 
hofer or Frauendevil, in Munich ! Who caused that, we 
should all be glad to know, if not the wicked Treasury, 
that killed the hen that laid the golden eggs by taxing 
her until her spine broke? It is to be hoped that, at this 
moment, and specifically for this offence, some scores of 
Excliequcr men, chancellors, and other rubbish, are in 
purgatory, and perhaps working, with shirt-sleeves tucked 
up, in purgatorial glass-houses, with very small allowances 
of beer, to defray the cost of perspiration. But why trouble 
a festal remembrance with commemorations of crimes or 
criminals? What makes the Glasgow Observatory so 
peculiarly interesting is its position, connected with and 
overlooking so vast a city, having as many thousands of 
inhabitants as there are days in a year (I so state the po- 
pulation, in order to assist the readei’^s memory), and nearly 
all children of toilj and a city, too,. which, from the neces- 
sities of its circumstances, draws so deeply upon that fouu; 
tain of misery and guilt which some ordinance, as ancient 
as “ our father Jacob,” with his patriarchal well for Sa- 
maria, has bequeathed preferentially to manufacturing 
towns — to Ninevehs, to Babylons, to Tyres. How tar- 
nished with eternal canopies of smoke, and of sorrow; 
how dark' with agitations of many orders, is the mighty • 
town below! How serene, how quiet, how lifted above 
the confusion, and the roar, and the strifes of earth, -is 
the solemn observatory that crowns the heights overhead 1 
And duly, at night, just when the toil of overwrought 


Glasgow is mercifully relaxing, then comes the summons 
to the labouring astronomer. Everywhere the astrono- 
mer speaks not of the night, but of the day and the flaunt- 
ing daylight, as the hours " in which no man can work.” 
And the least reflecting of men must bo impressed by the 
idea, that at wide intervals, but intervals scattered over 
Europe, whilst “all that mighty heart” is, by sleep, rest- 
ing from its labours, secret eyes are lifted up to heaven 
in astronomical watch-towers; eyes that keep watch and 
ward over spaces that make us dizzy to remember, that 
register the promises of comets, and disentangle the laby- 
rinths of worlds. 

Another feature of interest, connected with the Glasgow 
‘ Observatory, is personal, and founded on the intellectual 
characteristics of the present professor. As a popularising 
astronomer, he has done more for the benefit of his great 
science than all the rest of Europe combined; and now, 
when he notices, without murmur, the fact that his ofiice 
of popular teacher is almost taken out of his hands (so 
many are they who have trained of late for the duty), that 
change has, in fact, been accomplished through knowledge, 
through explanations, through suggestions, dispersed and 
prompted by himself. 

For my own part, as one belonging to the laity, and not 
to the clerus, in the science of astronomy, I could scarcely 
have presumed to report uynutely, or to sit in the cha- 
racter of dissector upon the separate details of Dr Nichors 
works, either this, or those which have preceded it. But 
In this view it is suflficient to have *made the general 
acknowledgment which already to been made, , that Dr 
Nichol’s worlds, and his -oral lectures upon astronomy, are 
to be considered as the fundus of the popular knowledge* on 
that science now working in this generation. More im- 



portant it is, and more in reconciliation with the tenor ot 
my own ordinary studies, to notice the philosophic spirit 
in which Dr Nichol’s works are framed, and the lofty cha- 
racter of that enthusiasm which sustains his intellectual 
advances. In reading astronomical works, there arises 
(from old experience of what is usually most faulty) a wish 
either for the naked severities of science, with a total 
abstinence from all display of enthusiasm; or else, if the 
cravings of human sensibility are to be met and gratified, 
that it shall be by an enthusiasm unaffected and grand as 
its subject. Of that kind is the enthusiasm of Dr Nichol. 

There was a man in the last century, and an eminent 
man too, who used to say, that whereas people in general 
pretended to admire astronomy as being essentially su- 
blime, he for his part looked upon all that sort of thing as 
a swindle; and, on the contrary, he regarded the solar 
system as decidedly vulgar; because the planets were so 
infernally punctual, they kept time with such horrible 
precision, that they forced him, whether he would or no, 
to think of post-office clocks, mail-coaches, and book- 
keepers. Regularity may be beautiful, but it exeludes 
the sublime. What he Avished for was something like 
Lloyd’s list; — 

Comefs— duo 3; arrived 1. 

Mci'cury, 'when last seen, appealed to be distressed; but made no sig- 

Pallas and Vata, not heard of for jbme time; supposed to have foun- 

Moon, spoken last night through a heavy bank of clouds; out sixteen 
days: all right. tc 

Now this poor man’s misfortune was, to have lived in 
the days of mere planetary astronqmy. At present, when 
oui**OAvn little system, with all its grandeurs, has dwindled 
by comparison to a subordinate province, if any man is 


bold enough to say so, a poor shivering unit amongst 
myriads that are brighter, we ought no longer to talk of 
astronomy, but of the astronomies. There is, 1. the planetary; 
2, the cometary; 3. the sidereal, perhaps also others; as, for 
instance, even yet, 4. the nebular; because, though Lord 
Rosse has smitten it with a rod like the son of Amram’s, has 
made it open, and has cloven a path through it, yet other and 
more fearful nehulcs may loom in sight (if further improve- 
ments should be effected in the telescope), that may puzzle 
even Lord Rosse. That would ^ be vexatious. But no 
matter. What’s a nebula^ what’s a world, more or less? 
Tn the spiritual heavens are many mansions: in the starry 
heavens, that are now unfolding and preparing to unfold 
before us, are many vacant areas upon which the astro- 
nomer ^ay pitch his secret pavilion. He may dedicate 
himself to the service of the Doiihle Suns; he has my 
license to devote his whole time to the quadruple sj stem 
of suns in Lyra, Swammerdam spent his life in a ditch, 
watching frogs and tadpoles; why may not an astronomer 
give nine lives, if he had them, tg the watching of that 
awful appearance in Hercules, which pretends to some 
rights over our own system? Why may he not mount 
guard, with public approbation, for the next fifty years, 
upon the zodiacal light, the interplanetary ether, and other 
rarities, which the professional body of astronomers would 
naturally keep (if they could) for their own private enjoy- 
ment? There is no want of variety now, nor in fact of 
irregularity; so that our friend of the ^ast century, who 
complained of the solar system as too monotonous, would 
not need to do so any longer. There are anomalies enough 
to keep him cheerful. And for all purposes of frightening 
us, anomalies in systems so vast are as good as a ghost. 

But of all the novelties that excite my own interest in 
. 1 — ni. 



the expanding astronomy of recent times, the most pro- 
mising are those charming little pyrotechnic planetoids,* 
that variegate our annual course. It always struck me 
as disgusting, that, in going round the sun, we must be 
passing continually over old roads, and yet have no means 
of establishing an acquaintance with them: they might as 
well be new for every trip. Those chambers, of ether, 
through which we are tearing along night and day (for 
our trains stops at no stations), doubtless, if vve could put 
some mark upon them, must be old fellows perfectly liable 
to recognition. And yet, for want of such a mark, though 
all our lives flying past them and through them, we can 
never challenge them a^ old acquaintances. The ‘same 
thing happens in the desert; one monotonous iteration of 
sand, sand, sand, unless where some miserable fountain 
stagnates, forbids all approach to familiarity: nothing is 
circumstantiated or differenced: travel it for three gene- 
rations, and you are no nearer to identification of its parts; 
so that it amounts to travelling through an abstract idea. 
There is no Aristotclijjji avafvca^idigy no recognition. For 
the desert, I suspect the thing is hopeless; but, as regards . 
our planetary orbit, matters are mending: for the last 
six or seven years, these showers of fulling stars, recurrent 
at known intervals, make those parts of the road Jcenspeckle 

* ** Pyrotechnic planetoid ^:” — The reader will understand me as al- 

luding to the periodic shooting stars. It is now well known, that as, 
upon our own poor little earthly ocean, we fall in with certain phenomena 
ao we approach certain latitudes, so also upon the great ocean navigated 
by our Earth, we fall' in with pi'odigio”^ showers of these meteors at 
periods no longer uncertain, but fixed as jail -deliveries. " These re- 
marhablo showers of meteors," says Dr Nichol, “observed at different 
periods in August and November, seem to demonstrate the fact, that, at 
these periods, we have come in contact with two streams of such planet- 
oids then intersecting the earth’s orbit.” If they intermit, it is only 
beciiu&e they arc shifting their nodes or points of intersection. 


(to use an old Scottish word),— i. c., liable to recognition, 
and distinguishable from the rest.* For years 1 have 
heard of them as celebrating two annual jubilees^-one in 
August, one in November. You are a little too late,t 
reader, for seeing this year’s summer’s festival; but that’s 
no reason why you shoiild not engage a good seat for the 
November meeting; which, if I recollect, is about the 9th, 
or the Lord Mayor’s day, and, on the whole, better worth 
seeing. For anything we know, this may be a great day 
in the earth’s earlier history; she may have put forth her 
original rose on this day, or tried her hand at a primitive 
specimen of wheat; or she may, in fact, have survived 
some gunpowder plot about this time; so that the mete- 
oric appearance may be a kind congratulating feu^de-Joie, 
on the anniversary of the happy event. What it is that 
the "cosmogony man” in the "Vicar of Wakefield” would 
have thought of such novelties, whether ho would have 
favoured us with his usual opinion upon such topics — viz., 

♦ Somewhere I have seen it remarked, that if on a public road you 
meet a party of four women, it is at least fifty to one that they are all 
laughing; whereas, if you meet an cqual^rty of my own unhappy sex, 
you may wager safely that they are talking gravely, and that one of them 
is uttering the word monet/, Henco it must be — viz., because our sisters 
are too much occupied with the playful things of this earth, and our 
brothers with its gravities, that neither party sufficiently watches the 
skies. And t/iat’ accounts for a fact which often has struck myself— viz., 
that, in cities, on bright moonless nights, when some brilliant skirmish- 
ings of the Aurora are exhibiting, or even a luminous arch, which is a 
broad riband of snowy light that spans the skies, positively unless 1 my- 
self say to people, ** Eyes upwards 1 ” not one in a hundred, male or female, 
but fails to see the show, though it may be seen gratUt simply because 
their eyes are too uniformly reading the earth, fhis downwar^d direction 
of the eyes, however, must have been worse in former ages: because else 
it never coidd have happened that, until Queen Anne’s days, nobody ever 
hinted in a book that there was such a thing, or could be such a thing, as 
the Aurora Borealis; and in fact Halley had the credit of discovering it. 

t ** Too Originally this paper was published not ikrVrom mid- 




that anarchon ara kai ateleutaion to pan — or have sported a 
new one exclusively for this occasion, may be doubtful. 
What it is that astronomers think, who are a kind of "cos- 
mogony men,” the reader may learn from Dr Nichol. 
(Note B, pp. 139, 14€.) 

In taking leave of a book and a subject so well fitted to 
draw out the highest mode of that grandeur, which can con- 
nect itself with the external, I would wish to contribute 
my own brief word of homage to this grandeur,^ by recall- 
ing from a fading remembrance of twenty-five years back 
a short bravura of John Paul llichter, but in my own 
English version. I call it a bravttra^ as being intentionally 
a passage of display and elaborate e5cccution; and in one 
sense I may call it partly "my own,” since, at twenty-five 
years’ distance (after one single reading), it would not have 
been possible for any man to report a passage of this length 
without greatly disturbing* the texture of the composition: 
by altering, though unintentionally, by adding, by sub- 
tracting, or by transposing, unavoidably one makes it 
partly one’s own; but it is right to mention, that the su- 
blime turn at the end bdongs entirely to John Paul. 

Dream-vimn of the Infinite as it reveals itself in the 
Chambers of Space, 

" God called up from dreams a man into the vestibule 
of heaven, saying, * Come thou hither, and see the glory 
of my house.’ And to the servants that stood around 

* ** Disturbing — Nelihcr perhaps shoulf^ I much have sought to avoid 
alterations, if the original had been lying betbre me: for it takes the shape 
of a dream; and this most brilliant of all German writers wanted in that 
field the severe simplicity, that horror of the too much, belonging to 
. architecture, which is essential to the perfection of a dream con- 

iSdered as a work of art. Too elaborate he was, and too artificial, to 
realise the grandeur of the shadowy. 


his throne he said, *Take him, and undress him from 
his robes of flesh: cleanse his vision, and put a new 
breath into his nostrils: arm him with sail-broad wings 
for flight. Only touch not with any change his human 
heart — the heart that weeps and trembles.’ It was 
done; and, with a mighty angel for his guide, the man 
stood ready for his infinite voyage; and from the ter- 
races of heaven, without sound or farewell, at once they 
wheeled away into endless space. Sometimes with the 
solemn flight of angel wing they fled through Zaarrahs 
of darkness, through wildernesses of death that divided 
the worlds of life: sometimes they swept over frontiers, 
that were quickening under prophetic motions towards a 
life not yet realised. Then, from a distance that is counted 
only in heaven, light dawned for a time through a sleepy 
film: by unutterable pace the light swept to ihem^ they 
by unutterable pace to the light: in a moment the rush- 
ing of planets was upon them: in a moment the blazing 
of suns was around them. Then came eternities of twi- 
light, that revealed, but were not revealed. To the right 
hand and to the left towered mighty constellations, that 
by self-repetitions and by answers from afar, that by 
counter-positions, that by mysterious combinations, built 
up triumphal gates, whose architraves, whose archways — 
horizontal, upright — rested, rose — at altitudes, by spans 
— that seemed ghostly from infinitude. Without measure 
were the architraves, past number were the archways, 
beyond memory the gates. Within wqire stairs that scaled 
the eternities above, that descended to the eternities be- 
low: above was below, below was above, to the man 
stripped of gravitating body;, depth was swallowed up in 
height insurmountable, height was swallowed up in depth 
unfathomable. Suddenly as thus thqy rode from infinite 



to infinite, suddenly as thus they tilted over abysmal 
worlds, a mighty cry arose—that Systems more mysterious, 
worlds more billowy— other heights, and other depths— 
were dawning, were nearing, were at hand. Then the 
man sighed, stopped, shuddered, and wept. His over- 
laden heart uttered itself in tears; and he said, ‘Angel, 
I will go no further. For the spirit of man aches under 
this infinity. Insufierable is the glory of God’s house. 
Let me lie down in the grave, that I may find rest from 
the persecutions of the Infinite; for end, I see, there is 
none.’ And from all the listening stars that shone aroun^ 
issued one choral chant—* Even so it is; angel, thou 
knowest that it is; end there is none, that ever yet we 
heard of.’ ‘End is there none?’ the angel solemnly de- 
manded. ‘And is this the sorrow that kills you.’ But 
no voice answered, that he might answer himself. Then 
the angel threw up his glorious hands to the heaven of 
heavens, saying, ‘End is there none to the universe of 
Qodl Lo ! also thebe is no beoinnino.’” 


On throwing his eyes hastily over the preceding psqjer, the writer 
becomes afraid that .some readers may giro such an interpretation 
to a few playful expressions upon tho ago of our earth, &c.,.a3 to 
class him with thoSfe who use geology, cosmology, &c., for purposes 
of attack or insinuation against the Mosaic cosmogony, or gcmerally 
against the silent scriptural compliances with the Jewish ignorance 
in matters of science. Upon this point, therefore, he wishes to 
make a firm explanation of his own opinions, which (whether right 
or wrong) will liberate him, once for all, from any such jealousy; 
and, at the same time, he lakes the liberty, temperately but boldly, 
of challenging a special attention to this postscript, under the belief 
that, upon a question continually rising in importance, and provok- 
ing more and more of acrimonious controversy (viz., the true rela- 
tions of the Bible to merely human science), this postscript offers two 
arguments, which are at once novel and conclusive as regards the 
main point at issue. 

It is sometimes said, that a religious messenger from Qod does 
not come amongst men for the sakd* of teaching truths in science,' 
or of correcting errors in science. Most justly is this said: but 
often in terms far too feeble. For generally these terms are such 
as to imply, that, although no direct and imperative function of bis 
mission, it was yet open to him, as a permissible function— that, 
although not pressing with the force of an obligation upon the mis- 
sionary, it was yet at his discretion— if not to correct other men’s 
errors, yet at least in bis own person to speak with scientific preci- 
sion. I contend that it was not. I contend, that to have ottered 



the truths of astronomy, of geology, &c., at the era of new-born 
Christianity, was not only helow and Jmide the purposes of a re- 
ligion, but would have been against them. Even upon errors of a 
far more important class than errors in science can ever be — super- 
stitions, iir instance, that degraded the very idea of God; preju- 
dices and false usages, that laid waste human happiness (such as 
slavery, and many hundreds of other abuses that might be men- 
tioned), the rule evidently acted upon by the Founder of Christianity 
was this — Given the purification of the well-head, once assumed 
that the fountains of truth are clbansed, all these derivative cur- 
rents of evil will cleanse themselves. As a general rule, the 
branches of error were disregarded, and the roots only attacked. 
If, tlfen, so lofty a station was taken with regard even to such errors 
as really had moral and spiritual relations, how much more with 
regard to the comparative trifles (as in the ultimate relations of 
human nature they are) of merely human science I But, for my 
part, I go further, and assert, that upon three reasons it was im- 
possible for any messenger from God (or offering himself in that 
character) to have descended into the communication* of truth 
merely scientific, or economic, or worldly. And the three reasons 
arc these: — First, because such a descent would have degraded his • 
mission, by lowering it to the base level of a collusion with human 
curiosity, or (in the most favourable case) of a collusion with petty 
and transitory interests. Secondly, because it would have ruined his 
mission, by disturbing its free agency, and misdirecting its energies, 
ill two separate modes: first, by destroying the spiritual auctoritas 
(the prestige and consideration) of the missionary; secondly, by viti- 
ating the spiritual atmosphere of his audience — that is, corrupting 
and misdirecting the character of their thoughts and expectations. 
He that in the early days of Christianity should have proclaimed the 
true theory of the solar system, or4hat by any chance word or allu- 
sion should then, in a condition of man Sv little prepared to receive 
such truths, have asserted or assumed the daily motion of tlft earth 
on its own axis, or its annual motion round the sun, would have 
found himself entangled at once and irretrievably in the following 
unmanageable consequences:— First of all, and instantaneously, bo 



would have been roused to the alarming fact^ tliat, by this dreadful 
indiscretion, he himself, the professed deliverer of a new and spiritual 
religion, bad in a moment untuned the spirituality of his audieipce. 
He would find that he had awakened within them the passion of 
curiosity — the most iinspiritual of passions, and of curMty in a 
fierce polemic sliape. The very safest step in so deplorable a situa- 
tion would be, instantly to recant. Already by this one may esti- 
mate the evil, when such would be its readiest palliation. For in 
what condition would the reputation of the teacher be left for dis- 
cretion and Wisdom as an intellectual guide, when his first act must 
be to recant — and to recant what to the whole body of his hearers 
would wear the character of a lunatic proposition. Such considera- 
tions might possibly induce him not to recant. But in that case the 
consequences are far worse. Having once allowed himself to sanc- 
tion what his hearers regard as the most monstrous of paradoxes, he 
has no liberty of retreat open to him. IIo must stand to the pro- 
mises of his own acts. Uttering the first truth of a science, he is 
pledged to the second; taking the main step, he is committed to all 
which follow. He is thrown at once upon the endless controversies 
which science in every stage provokes, and in none more than in the 
earliest. Starting, besides, from the authority of a divine mission, 
he could not (as others might) have the privilege of selecting arbi- 
trarily or partially. If upon one science, then upon all; if upon 
science, then upon art; if upon art and science, then upon every 
branch of social economy his reformation and advances are equally 
due — due as to all, if due as to any. To move in one direction, is 
constructively to undertake for all. Without power to retreat, he 
has thus thrown the intellectual interests of his followers into a 
channel utterly alien to the purposes of a spiritual mission. 

The spiritual mission, therefore, the purpose for which only the 
religious teacher was sent, has now perished altogether — overlaid 
and confounded by the merely scientific wranglings to which his own 
inconsiderate precipitance has opened the door. But suppose at 
this point that the teacher, aware at length of the mischief which he 
has caused, and seeing that the fatal error of uttering one solitary 
novel truth upon a matter of mere science is by inevitable conse- 



quence to throw him upon a road leading altogether away from the 
proper field of his mission^ takes the laudable course of confessing 
his^rror, and of attempting a return into his proper spiritual pro- 
vince, This may bo his best course; yet, after all, it will not retrieve 
his lost npund. He returns with a character confessedly damaged. 
Ilis very excuse rests upon the blindness and shortsightedness, 
which forbade his anticipating the true and natural consequences. 
Neither will his own account of the case be generally accepted. He 
will not be supposed to retreat from further controversy, as incon- 
sistent with spiritual purposes, but because be finds himself unequal 
to the dispute. And, in the very best case, ho is, by his own 
acknowledgment, tainted with human infirmity. He has been 
ruiqcd for a servant of inspiration; and how 1 By a process, let it 
be remembered, of which all the steps are inevitable under the same 
agency: that is, in the case of any primitive Christian teacher having 
attempted to speak the language of scientific trutli in dealing with 
the phenomena of astronomy, geology, or of any merely human 

Now, thirdly and lastly, in order to try the question in an extreme 
form, let it be supposed that, aided by powers of working miracles, 
some early apostle of Christianity should actually have succeeded in 
carrying through the Copernican system of astronomy as an article 
of blind belief sixteen centuries before the progress of man’s intellect 
had qualified him for naturally developing that system. What, in 
such a case, would be the true estimate and valuation of the achieve- 
ment 1 Simply this, that he had thus succeeded in cancelling and 
counteracting a determinate scheme of divine discipline and training 
for man. Wherefore did God give to man the powers for contend- 
ing with scientific difficulties ? Wherefore did he lay a secret train 
of continual occasions, that should rise, by relays, through scores of 
generations, for provoking and developing those activities in man’s 
intellect, if, after all, he is to send a messenger of his own, more than 
human, to intercept and strangle all these great purposes ? This is 
"fb* mistake the very meaning and purposes of a revelatioh. A reve« 
lation is not made for the purpose of showing to indolent men that 
which, by faculties already given to them, they may show to them- 



selves; no: but for the purpose of showing iAat which the moral 
darkness of man will not, without supernatural light, allow him to 
perceive. With disdain, therefore, must every thoughtful person 
regard the notion, that God could wilfully interfere with his own 
plans by accrediting ambassadors to reveal astronomy^ or %py other 
science, which he has commanded men, by qualifying men, to reveal 
for themselves. 

Even as regards astronomy — a science so nearly allying itself to 
religion by the loftiness and by the purity of its contemplations — 
Scripture is nowhere the parent of any doctrine, nor so much as the 
silent sanctioner of any doctrine. It is made impossible for Scrip- 
ture to teach falsely, by the simple fact that Scripture, on such sub- 
jects, will not condescend to teach at all. The Bible adopts. the 
erroneous language of men (which at any rate it must do, in order 
to make itself understood), not by way of sanctioning a theory, but 
by way of using a fact. The Bible, for instance, uses (postulates) 
the phenomena of day and night, of summer and winter; and, in 
relation to their causes, speaks by the same popular and inaccurate 
language which is current for ordinary purposes, even amongst the 
most scientific of astronomers. For the man of science, equally with 
the populace, talks of the sun as rising and setting, as having finished 
half his day’s journey, &c., and, without pedantry, could not in many 
cases talk otherwise. But the results, which are all that concern 
Scripture, are equally true, whether accounted for by one hypothesis 
which is philosophically just, or by another which is popular and 

Now, on the other hand, in geology and cosmology the case is 
stronger. Here there is no opening for a compliance even with a 
language that is erroneous; for no language at all is current upon 
subjects that have never engaged the popular attention. Here^ 
where there is no such stream of apparent; phenomena running 
counter (as in astronomy there is) to the real phenomena, neither 
is there any popular language opposed to the scientific. The whole 
are abstruse speculations, even as regards their objects, nor dreamed 
of as possibilities, either in their true aspects or their false aspects, 
till modem times. The Scriptures, therefore, nowhere allude to 



Buch sciences, either as taking the shape of histories^ applied to pro- 
cesses current and in movement, or as taking the shape of theories 
applied to processes past and accomplished. The Mosaic cosmogony, 
indeed, gives the succession of natural births; and probably the 
general outline of such a succession will be more and more confirmed 
as geology advances. But as to the time, the duration, of this suc- 
cessive evolution, it is the idlest of notions that the Scriptures 
either have, or could have, condescended_to human curiosity upon so 
awful a prologue to the drama of this world. Genesis would no 
more have indulged so mean a passion with respect to the myste- 
rious inauguration of the world, than the Apocalypse with respect 
to its mysterious close. “Yet the six day^ of Moses!” Days! 
But is it possible that human folly sheuld go the length of under- 
standing, by the Mosaical day^ the mysterious day of that awful 
agency which moulded the heavens and the heavenly host, no more 
than the ordinary nychthemeron or cycle of twenty-four hours 1 The 
period implied in a day^ when used in relation to the inaugural 
manifestation of creative power in that vast drama w'hich introduces 
God to man in the character of a demiurgus, or creator of the world, 
indicated one stage amongst six; involving probably many millions 
of years. The silliest of nurses in her nursery babble could hardly 
suppose that the mighty process began on a Monday morning, and 
ended on SatuMay night. If we are seriously to study the value 
and scriptural acceptation of scriptural words and phrases, I pre- 
sume that our first business will be to collate the use of these words 
in one part of Scripture, with their use in other parts, holding the 
same spiritual relations. The creation, for instance, does not belong 
to the earthly or merely historical records, but to the spiritual 
records of the Bible; to the same cate^ry, therefore, as the prophe- 
tic sections of the Bible. Now, in tnose, and in the Psalms, how 
do we understand the word day? Is any man so little versed in 
biblical language as not to know, that (except in the merely histori- 
cal parts of the Jewish records) every section of time has a secret 
and separate acceptation in the Scriptures ? Does an mn, though a 
(Jrecian word, bear scripturally (cither in Daniel or in St John) 
"any sense known to Grecian cara ? Do the seventy weeks of the 



prophet mean weeks in the sense of human calendars? Already 
the Psalms (xc.); already St Peter (2d Epist.), warn us of a peculiar 
sense attached to the word da^ in divine ears. And wlio of the 
innumerable interpreters understands the twelve hundred and sixty 
days in Daniel, or his two thousand and odd days, to mean, by possi- 
bility, periods of twenty-four hours 1 Surely the theme of Moses 
was as mystical, and as much entitled to the benefit of mystical 
language, as that of the prophets. 

The sum of this matter is this; — God, by a Hebrew prophet, is 
sublimely described as the ReveaUr ; and, in variation of his own 
expression, the same prophet describes him as the Being *Uhat 
knowetli the darkness.” Under no idea can the relations of God to 
man be more grandly expressed. But of what is ho the rovealer? 
Not surely of those things which he has enabled man to reveal for 
himself, but of those things which, were it not through special light 
from heaven, must eternally remain sealed up in inaccessible dark- 
ness. On this principle we should all laugh at a revealed cooltery. 
But essentially the same ridicule, not more, and not less, applies to 
a revealed astronomy, or a revealed geology. As a fact, there is no 
such astronomy or geology: as a possibility, by the d •priori argu- 
ment which I have used (viz., that a revelation on such fields 
would counteract other machineries of Providence), there can be no 
such astronomy or geology in the Bible. Consequently there is 
none. Consequently there can be no schism or feud upon thes$ 
subjects between the Bible and the philosophies outside. 



WiiAT is to be thought of lierf What is to be thought of 
the poor shepherd girl from the hills and forests of Lor- 
raine, that — like the Hebrew shepherd boy from the hills 
and forests of Judea — rose suddenly out of the quiet, out 
of the safety, out of the religious inspiration, rooted in 
.^deep pastoral solitudes, to a station in the van of armies, 

* ** Arc:** — Modern France, that should know a great deal better than 
myself, insists that the name is not D’Arc — i. e,, of Arc — hut Dare. 
Now it happens soraotimes, that if a person, whose position guarantees 
his access to the best information, will content himself with gloomy dog- 
mati'sm, stiiking the table with his fist, and saying, in a terrific voice, 
** It is so, and there’s an end of it,” one bows deferentially, and submits. 
But if, unhappily for himself, won by this docility, he relents too ami- 
ably into reasons and arguments, probably one raises an insurrection 
against him that may never bo crushed; for ii^the fields of logic one can 
skirmish, perhaps, as well as he. Had he confined himself t ' dogmatism, 
he would have intrenched his position i8g|[arkness, and have hidden his 
own vulnerable points. But, coming down to base reasons, ho lets in 
light, and one sees where to plant the blows. Now, the worshipful 
reason of modern France for disturbing the old received spelling, is — that 
Jean Hordal, a descendant of Za Pucellt*8 -tber, spelled the name 
Dare in 1612. But what of that! It is notorious that what small mat- 
ter of spelling Providence had thought fit to disburse amongst man in the 
ijf^jventeentb century was all monopolised by printers; now, M. Hordal 
|was wt a printer. 



and to the more perilous station at the right hand of 
kings t The Hebrew boy inaugurated his patriotic mission 
by an act, by a victorious act, such as no man could deny, 
ljut so did the girl of Lorraine, if we read her story as it 
was read by those who saw her nearest. Adverse armies 
boro witness to the boy as no pretender; but so they did 
to the gentle girl. Judged by the voices of all who saw 
them fvom a station of good-will, both were found true and 
loyal to any promises involved in their first acts. Enemies 
it was that made the difTercnce between their subsequent 
fortunes. The boy rose to a splendour and a noonday 
prospeiity, both personal and public, that rang through 
the records of his people, and became a by-word amongst 
his posterity for a Mwi’^sand years, until the sceptre was 
departing from Judah. The poor, forsaken girl, on the 
contrary, drank not herself from that cup of rest which sho 
had sccurc<l for France. She never sang together with the 
songs that rose in her native Domremy, as echoes to the 
departing steps of invaders. She mingled not in the ffestal 
dances at Vaucouleurs which celebrated in rapture the re- 
demption of France. No! for Iicr voice was then silent; 
no ! for her feet were dust. Pure, innocent, noble-hearted 
girl! whom, from earliest youth, ever I believed in as full 
of truth and self-sacrifice, this w'as amongst the strongest 
j)ledges for thy truth, tliat never once — no, not for a moment 
of weakness — didst thou revel in the vision of coronets 
and honour from rnoit. Coronets for thee! Oh no! 
Honours, if they come when all is over, are for those that 
share thy blood.* Daughter of DoinPemy, when the gra- 
titude of thy king shall awaken, thou wilt be sleeping tha 

* “ T/<osc ihoX share thy blood:'* — A collateral relative oi Joanna’s was 
subsequently ennobled by the title of i>w Lys. 



sleep of the dead. Call her, King of France, but she will 
not hear thee ! Cite her by thy apparitors to con^ and 
receive a robe of honour, but she will be found m contu^ 
mace. When the thunders of universal France, as even 
yet may happen, shall proclaim the grandeur of the poor 
shepherd girl that gave up all for her country, thy ear, 
young shepherd girl, will have been deaf for five centuries. 
To suffer and to do, that was thy portion in this life; that 
was thy destiny; and not for a moment was it hidden 
from thyself. Life, thou saidst, is short; and the sleep 
which is in the grave is long! Let me use that life, so 
transitory, for the glory of those heavenly dreams destined 
to comfort the sleep which is so long. This pure creature 
— pure from every suspicion of even a visionary self-inte- 
rest, even as she was pure in senses more obvious — never 
once did this holy child, as regarded herself, relax from 
her belief in the darkness that was travelling to meet her. 
She might not prefigure the very manner of her death; 
she saw not in vision, perhaps, the aerial altitude of the 
fiery scaffold, the spectators without end on every road 
pouring into Rouen as to a coronation, the surging smoke, 
the volleying flames, the hostile faces all around, the pity- 
ing eye that lurked but here and there, until nature and 
imperishable truth broke loose from artificial restraints; 
— these might not be apparent through the mists of the 
hurrying future. But the voice that called her to death, 
that she heard for ever. 

Great was the throne of France even in those days, and 
great was he that ^sat upon it: but well Joanna knew 
that' not the throne, nor he that sal upon it, was for her; 
jtot, on the contrary, that she was for them; not she by 
pBiem, but they by her, should rise from the dust. ' Gor- 
geous werei;he lilies of France, and for centuries had the 



privilege to spread their -beauty over land and sea^ until, 
in another century, the wrath of God and man combined 
to wither them; but well Joanna knew, early at Domremy 
she had read that bitter truth, that the lilies of France 
would decorate no garland for her. Flower nor bud, bell’ 
nor blossom, would ever bloom for her, 

* » o « « » 

But stay. What reason is there for taking up this sub- 
ject of Joanna precisely in the spring of 18471 Might it 
not have been left till the spring of 19471 or, perhaps, left 
till called fori Yes, but it is called for; and clamorously. 
You arc aware, reader, that amongst the many original 
thinkers whom modern France has produced, one of the 
reputed leaders is M. Michelet. All these writers are of a 
revolutionary cast; not in a political sense merely, but in 
all senses; mad, oftentimes, as March hares; crazy with the 
laughing gas of recovered liberty; drunk with the wine- 
cup of their Ibighty ^evolution, snorting, whinnying, 
throwing up their heels, like wild horses in the boundless 
Pampas, and riftining races of defiance with snipes, or with 
the winds, or with their own shadows, if they can find 
nothing else to challenge. Some time or other I, that 
have leisure to read, may introduce you, that have not, to 
two or three dozen of these writers; of whom I can assure 
you beforehand, that they are often profound, and at in- 
tervals are even as impassioned as if they were come of 
Our best English blood. But now, confining our atten- 
tion to M. Michelet, we in England — who know him 
best by his worst book, the book agaipst priests, &c. — 
know him disadvantageously. That book is a rhapsody 
of incoherence. But his "History of France” is quite 
another thing. A man, in whatsoever craft he sails, can- ^ 

not stretch away out of sight when he is linked to the 
1 2 



windings of the shore by towing-ropes of history. Facts, 
and the consequences of facts, draw the writer back to the 
falconer’s iure from the giddiest heights of speculation. 
Here, therefore — in his " France” — if not always free from 
flightiness, if now and then off like a rocket for an airy 
wheel in the clouds, M. Michelet, with natural politeness, 
never forgets that he has left a large audience waiting for 
him on earth, and gazing upwards in anxiety for his return: 
return, therefore, he does. But history, though clear of 
certain temptations in one direction, has separate dangers 
of its own. It is impossible so to write a history of 
France, or of England — works becoming every hour more 
indispensable to the inevitably-political man of this day — 
without perilous openings for error. If I, for instance, 
on the part of England, should happen to turn my labours 
into that channel, and (on the model of Lord Percy going 
to Chevy Chase) 

A vow to Grod should make 
My pleasure in the Michelet woods 

Three summer days to take," 

probably, from simple delirium, I might hunt M. 
Michelet into delirium tremens. Two strong angels stand 
by the side of history, whether French history or English, 
as heraldic supporters: the angel of research on the left 
hand, that must read millions of dusty parchments, and of 
pages blotted with lies; the angel of meditation on the 
right hand, that must cleanse these lying records with fire, 
even as of old the draperies of asbestos were cleansed, and 
must quicken them into regenerated life. Willingly I 
acknowledge that no man will aver avoid innumerable 
errors of detail; with so vast a compass of ground to 
traverse; this is impossible; but such errors (though I 
Lave a bushel on hand, at M. Michelet’s service) are not 



the game I chase; it is the bitter and unfair spirit ia 
which M. Michelet writes against England. Even that^ 
after all, is bat mj secondary object; the real one is 
Joanna, the Pucelle d’Orleans for herself. 

I am not going to write the history of La Pucelle: to 
do this, or even circumstantially to report the history of 
her persecution and bitter death, of her struggle with false 
witnesses and with ensnaring judges, it would be necessary 
to have before us all the documents, and therefore the 
collection only now forthcoming* in Paris. But my purpose 
is narrower. There have been great thinkers, disdaining 
the careless judgments of contemporaries, who have thrown 
themselves boldly on the judgment of a far posterity, that 
should have had time to review, to ponder, to compare. 
There have been great actors on the stage of tragic huma- 
nity that might, with the same depth of confidence, have ap- 
pealed from the levity of compatriot friends — too heartless 
for tlie sublim#interest,of their story, and too impatient for 
the labour of sifting its perplexities — to the magnanimity 
and justice of enemies. To this class belongs the Maid of 
Arc. The ancient Romans were too faithfu^ to the ideal 
of grandeur in themselves not to relent, after a generation 
or two, before the grandeur of Hannibal. Mithridates — a 
more doubtful person — yet merely for the magic perseve- 
rance of his indomitable malice, won from the same Romans 
the only real honour that ever he received on earth. And 
we English have ever shown the same homage to stubborn 
enmity. To work unflinchingly for the ruin of England; 
to say through life, by word and by deed Delenda est Anglia 
Virtrixl that one purpose of malice, faithfully pursued, has 

* **Onlg now fonheoming :” — In 1847 began the publication (from 
oifiical records) of Joanna’s trial. It was interrupted, I fear, by the oon- 

vulsions of 1&48; and whether even yet finished, I do not know. 



quartered some people upon our national funds of homage 
as by a perpetual annuity. Better than an inheritance of 
service rendered to England herself, has sometimes proved 
the most insane hatred to England. Hytter Ali, even his 
son Tippoo, though so far inferior, and Napoleon, have all 
benefited by this disposition amongst ourselves to exag- 
gerate the merit of diabolic enmity. Not one of these 
men was ever capable, in a solitary instance, of praising an 
enemy [what do you say to thatj reader?], and yet, in their 
behalf, we consent to forget, not their crimes only, but 
(which is worse) their hideous bigotry and anti-magnani»- 
mous egotism — for nationality it was not. Suffrein, and 
some half-dozen of other French nautical heroes, because 
rightly they did us all the mischief they could (which was 
really great), are names justly reverenced in England. On 
the same principle. La Pucelle d’Orlcans, the victorious 
enemy of England, has been destined to receive her deepest 
commemoration from the magnanimous justice of Enflish- 

Joanna, as we in England should call her, but, according 
to her own statement, Jeanne (or, as M. Michelet asserts, 
Jean*) D’Arc, was born at Domremy, a village on the 
marches of Lorraine and Champagne, and dependent upon 

• 'Veaw.”— M. Michelet asserts that there was a mystical meaning at 
that era in calling a child Jean; it implied a secret commendation of a 
child, if not a dedication, to St John tho evangelist, the beloved disciple, 
the apostle of love and mysterious visions. But, really, as the name was 
80 exceedingly common, few people will detect a mystery in calling a bo^ 
by the name of Jack, though it does seem mysttiious to call a girl Jack. 
It may be less so in Finance, where a beautiful practice has always pi e- 
of giving to a boy his mother s nam —preceded and strengthened 
a male name, as Charles Anne, Victor Victoire. In cases where e 
mother’s memory has been unusually dear to a son, this vocal memento 
of her, locked into the circle of his own name, gives to it the tenderness 
of a testamentary relique, or a funeral ring. I presume, tlierefore, that 



the town of Yaucouleurs. 1 have called her a Lorrainer, 
not simply becfiuse the word is prettier, but because Cham- 
pagne too odiously reminds us English of what are for ub 
imaginary wines, which, undoubtedly. La Pacelle tasted as 
rarely as we English; we English, because the Champagne 
of London is chiefly grown in Devonshire; La Pucelle, be- 
cause the Champa^e of Champagne never, by any chance, 
flowed into the founthin of Donfremy, from which only she 
drank. M. Michelet will have her to be a Ckampenoisey and 
for no better reason than that she “ took after her father,” 
who happened to be a Chamjpenois. 

These disputes, however, turn on refinements too nice. 
Domremy stooefujion the frontiers, and, like other fi on tiers, 
produced a mixed race, representing the cia and the trans, 
A river (it is true) formed the boundary-line at this point 
— the river Meuse; and that, in old days, might have 
divided the populations; but in these* days it did not: there 
w9fe bridges, there were ferries and weddings crossed 
from the right bank to the left. Here lay two great roads, 
not so much for travellers that were few, as for armies that 
were too many by half. These two roads, one of which was 
the great high road between France and Germany, decus- 
sated at this very point; which is a learned way of saying 
that they formed a St Andrew's cross, or letter X. I hope 
the compositor will choose a good large X, in which case 
the point of intersection, the locus of conflux and intersec- 
tion for these four diverging arms, will finish the reader’s 
geographical education, by showing him to a hair’s* breadth 
where it was that Domremy stood. These roads, so grandly 
situated, as great trunk arteries between two mighty 

La Pucelle must have borne the baptismal names of Jeanne Jean; the 
latter with no reference, perhaps, to so sublime a person as St John, but 
simply to some relative. 



realms,* and haunted for ever by wars or rumours of wars, 
decussated (for anything I know to the contrary) absolutely 
under Joanna’s bedroom window; one rolling away to the 
right, past Monsieur D’Arc’s old barn, and the other un- 
accountably preferring to sweep round that odious man’s 
pig-sty to the left. 

On whichever side of the border chance had thrown 
Joanna, the same love to France would have been nurtured. 
For it is a strange fact, noticed by M. Michelet and others, 
that the Dukes of Bar and Lorraine had for generations 
pursued the policy of eternal warfare with France lon their 
own account, yet also of eternal amity and league with 
France, in case anybody else presumed to dttack her. Let 
peace settle upon France, and before long you might rely 
upon seeing the little vixen Lorraine flying at the throat 
of France. Let France be assailed by a formidable enemy, 
and instantly you saw a Duke of Lorraine insisting on 
having his own throat cut in support of France; wH^h 
favour accordingly was cheerfully granted to him in three 
great successive battles — twice by the English, viz., at 
Crdcy and Agincourt, once by the Sultan at Nicopolis. 

^ This sympathy with France during great Eclipses, in 
those that during ordinary seasons were always teasing her 
with brawls and guerilla inroads, strengthened the natural 
piety to France of those that were confessedly the children 
of her own house. The outposts of France, as one may 
call the great frontier provinces, were of all localities the 
most dei^oted to the Fleurs do Lys. To witness, at any 
great crisis, the generous devotion to these lilies of the 

little fiery cousin that in gentler wea^^her was for ever tilt- 

, . ...... — — ..... - 

^ And reminding one of that inscription, so justly admired by Paul 
Ifl^tcr, which a Russian Czarina placed on a guide-post near Moscow 

ia tha fvod that leads to Constantiiiople, 



lug at the breast of FrancOi could not but fan the zeal of 
France’s legitimate daughters: whilst to occupy a post of 
honour on the frontiers against an old hereditary enemy 
of France, would naturally stimulate this zeal by a senti- 
.ment of martial pride, by a sense of danger always threat- 
ening, and of hatred always smouldering. That great 
four-headed road was a perpetual memento to patriotic 
ardour. To say, this way lies the road to Paris, and that 
other way to Aix-la-Chapelle — this to Prague, that to 
Vienna — nourished the warfare of the heart by daily 
•ministrations of sense. The eye that watclied for the 
gleams of lance or helmet from the hostile frontier, the 
ear that listened for the groaning of wheels, made the 
high-road itself, with its relations to centres so remote, 
into a manual of patriotic duty. 

The situation, therefore, locally, of Joanna was full of 
profound suggestions to a heart that listened for the 
stealthy steps of change and fear that too surely were in 
motion. But, if the place were grand, the time, the bur- 
den of the time, was far more so. The air overhead in 
its upper chambers was hurtling with the obscure sound; 
was dark with sullen fermenting of storms that had beeir 
gathering for a hundred and thirty years. The battle of 
Agincourt in Joanna’s childhood had reopened the wounds 
of France. Crecy and Poictiers, those withering overthroits 
for the chivalry of France, had, before Agincourt occurred, 
been tranquillised by more than half-a-century; but this re- 
surrection of their trumpet wails made the whol^ series of 
battles and endless sk*'’mishes take their stations as parts 
in one drama. The graves that had closed sixty years ago 
seemed to fly open in sympathy with a sorrow that echoed 
their own. • The monarchy of France laboured in extremity, 
rocked and reeled like a ship fighting with the darkness oi 



monsoons. The madness of the poor king (Charles VI.) 
falling in at such a crisis, like the case of women labouring 
in child-birth during the storming of a city, trebled the 
awfulness of the time. Even the wild story of the incident 
which had immediately occasioned the explosion of this 
madness — the case of a man unknown, gloomy, and perhaps 
maniacal himself, coming out of a forest at noonday, lay- 
ing his hand upon the bridle of the king’s horse, checking 
him for a moment to say, “ Oh, king, thou art betrayed,” 
and then vanishing, no man knew whither, as he had ap- 
peared for no man knew what — fell in with the universal 
prostration of mind that laid France on her knees, as be- 
fore the slow unweaving of some ancient prophetic doom. 
The famines, the extraordinary diseases, the insurrections 
of the peasantry up and down Europe — these were chords 
struck from the same mysterious harp; but these were 
transitory chords. There had been others of deeper and 
more ominous sound. The termination of the Crusades, the 
destruction of the Templars, the Papal interdicts, the tra- 
gedies caused or suffered by the house of Anjou, and by tlie 
emperor — these were full of a more permanent significance. 
iBut, smee then, the colossal figure of feudalism was seen 
standing, as it were, on tiptoe, at Crecy, for flight from 
earth; that was a revolution unparalleled; yet that was a 
trifle, by comparison with the more fearful revolutions that 
were mining below the church. By her own internal 
schisms, by the abominable spectacle of a double pope — so 
that no man, except through political bias, could even 
guess which was Heaven’s vicegerent, and which the crea- 
ture of hell — the church was rehea sing, as in still earlier 
forms she had already rehearsed, those vast rents in her 
foundations whieh no man should ever heal. 

These were the loftiest peaks of the cloudland in the 



skies, tliai to the scientific gazer first caught the colours 
of the new morning in advance. But the whole vast range 
alike of sweeping glooms overhead, dwelt upon all medi- 
tative minds, even upon those that could not distinguishjbhe 
tendencies nor decipher the forms. It w'as, therefore, not 
her own age alone, as affected by its immediate calamities, 
that lay with such weight upon Joanna’s mihdj*but her 
own age, as one section in a, vast mysterious drama, un- 
weaving through a century back, and drawing nearer con- 
tinually to some dreadful crisis. Cataracts and rapids 
were heard roaring ahead; and signs were seen far back, 
by help of old men’s memories, which answered secretly to 
signs now coming forward on the eye, even as locks answer 
to keys. It was not wonderful that in such a haunted 
solitude, with such a haunted heart, Joanna should see 
angelic visions, and hear angelic voices. These voices 
whispered to her for ever the duty, self-imposed, of deli- 
vering France. Five years she listened to these monitory 
voices with internal struggles. At length she could resist 
no longer. Doubt gave way; and she left her home for 
ever in order to present herself at the dauphin’s court. « 
The education of this poor girl was mean according to 
the present standard: was ineffably grand, according to a 
purer philosophic standard: and only not good for our 
age, because for us it would be unattainable. She read 
nothing, for she could not read; but she had heard others 
read parts of the Eoman martyrology. She wept in sym- 
pathy with the sad Misereres of the Bomish Church; she 
rose to heaven with the glad triumphant'Te Deisms of Home: 
she drew her comfort and her vital strength from the rites 
of the same church. But, next after thesef spiritual advan- 
tages, she owed most to the advantages of her situation. 
The fountain of Domrdmy was on the brink of a boundless 



forest; and it was haunted to that degree by fairies, thas 
the parish priest (cure) was obliged to read mass there 
once a-year, in order to keep them in any decent bounds. 
Faij^ies are important, even in a statistical view: certain 
weeds mark poverty in the soil, fairies mark its solitude. 
As surely as the wolf retires before cities, does the fairy 
sequester herself froin the haunts of the licensed victualler. 
A village is too much for her nervous delicacy; at most, 
she can tolerate a distant view of a hamlet. We may 
judge, therefore, by the uneasiness and extra trouble which 
they gave to the parson, in what strength the fairies mus- 
tered at Domremy; and, by a satisfactory consequence, 
how thinly sown with men and women must have been 
that region even in its inhabited spots. But the forests 
of Domremy — those were the glories of the land; for in 
them abode mysterious powers and ancient secrets that 
towered into tragic strength. ‘‘Abbeys there were, and 
abbey windows,” — “ like Moorish temples of the Hindoos,” 
that exercised even princely power both in Lorraine and 
in the German Diets. These had their sweet bells that 
pierced the forests for many a league at matins or vespers, 
and each its own dreamy legend. F ew enough, and scattered 
enough, were these abbeys, so as in no degree to disturb 
the deep solitude of the region; yet many enough to spread 
a network or awning of Christian sanctity over what else 
might have seemed a heathen wilderness. This sort of 
religious talisman being secured, a man the most afraid of 
ghosts (like myself, suppose, or the reader) becomes armed 
into courage to wander for days in their sylvan recesses. 
The fountains of the Vosges, on the eastern frontier of 
Fxj^ee, have never attracted much notice from Europe, 
.eiicept in 1813-14 for a few brief months, when they fell 
within Napoleon’s line of defence against the Allies. But 



tliey are interesting for this, amongst other features, thAt 
they do not, like some loftier ranges, repel woods: the 
forests and the hills are on sociable terms. Livt and kt 
live, is their motto. For this reason, in part, these tracts in 
Lorraine were a f&vourite hunting-ground with the Carlo-* 
vingian princes. About six -hundred years before Joanna’s 
childhood, Charlemagne was known to have hunted there. 
That, of itself, was a grand incident in the traditions of a 
forest or a chase. In these vast forests, also, were to bo 
found (if anywhere to be found) those mysterious fawns 
that tempted solitary hunters into visionary and perilous 
pursuits. Here was seen (if anywhere seen) that ancient 
stag who was already nine hundred years old, but pos- 
sibly a hundred or two more, when met by Charlemagne; 
and the thing was put beyond doubt by the inscription 
upon his golden collar. I believe Charlemagne knighted 
the stag; and, if ever he is met again by a king, he ought 
to be made an carl; or, being upon the marches of France, 
a marquis. Observe, I don’t absolutely vouch for alf 
these things; my own opinion varies. On a fine breezy 
forenoon I am audaciously sceptical ; but as twilight sets 
in, my credulity grows steadily, till it becomes equal to 
anything that could be desired. And I have heaid candid 
sportsmen declare that, outside of these very forests, they 
laughed loudly at all the dim tales connected with their 
haunted solitudes; but, on reaching a spot notoriously 
eighteen miles deep within them, they agreed with Sir 
Boger de Coverly, that a good deal might be said on both 

Sudh traditions, or any others that (like the stag) con- 
nect distant generations with each other, are, for that 
cause, sublime; and the sense of the shadowy, connected 
with such appearances that reveal themselves or not, ac- 



cording to circumstances', leaves a colouring of sanctity 
over ancient forests, even in those minds that utterly 
reject the legend as a fact. 

But, apart from all distinct* stories of that order, in 
any solitary frontier between two great empires, as here, 
for instance, or in the desert between Syria and the 
Euphrates, there is an inevitable tendency, in minds of 
any deep sensibility, to people the solitudes with phantom 
images of powers that were of old so vast. Joanna, there- 
fore, in. her quiet occupation of a shepherdess, would be 
led continually to brood over the political condition of her 
country, by the traditions of the past no less than by the 
mementoes of the local present. 

M. Michelet, indeed, says that La Pucelle was not a 
shepherdess. I beg his pardon: she was.* What he rests 
upon I guess pretty well: it is the evidence of a woman 
called Haumette, the most confidential friend of Joanna. 
Now, she is a good witness, and a good girl, and I like 
iier; for she makes a natural and affectionate report of 
Joanna’s ordinary life. But still, however good she may 
be as a witness, Joanna is better^ and she, when speaking 
to the dauphin, calls herself in the Latin report Bergereta. 
Even Haumette confesses that Joanna tended sheep in her 
girlhood. And I believe, that .if Miss Haumette were 
taking coffee alone with me this very evening (February 
12, 1847) — in which there would be no subject for scandal 
or for maiden blushes, because I am an intense philo- 
sopher, and Miss H, would be hard upon four hundred 
and fifty years old — she would admit the following com- 
meig;]^ upon her evidence to be right. A Frenchman, "about 
years ago, M. Simond. in his "Travels,” mentions 
.widentally the following hideous scene as one steadily 
^observed and watched bv himnelf in chivalrous France, not 



very long before the French Revolution; — A peasant was 
ploughing; and the team that drew his plough was a donkey 
and a woman. Both were regularly harnessed: both pulled 
alike. This is bad enough; but the Frenchman adds, 
that, in distributing his lashes, the peasant was obviously 
desirous of being impartial: or, if either of the yoke-fellows 
had a right to complain, certainly it was not the donkey. 
Now, in any country where such degradation of females 
could be tolerated by the state of manners, a woman of 
delicacy would shrink from acknowledging, either for her- 
self or her friend, that she had ever been addicted to any 
mode of labour not stric% domestic; because, if onco 
owning herself a prasdial servant, she would be sensible 
that this confession extended by probability in the hearer’s 
thoughts to the- having incurred indignities of this horrible 
kind. Haumette clearly thinks it more dignified for Joanna 
to have been darning the stockings of her horny-hoofed 
father. Monsieur D’Arc, than keeping sheep, lest she might 
then be suspected of having ever done something worse. 
But, luckily, there was no danger of that: Joanna never 
was in service; and my opinion is, that her father should 
have mended his own stockings, since probably he was the 
party to make the holes in them, as many a better man 
than D’Arc does; meaning by that not myself, because, 
though probably a better man than D’Arc, I protest against 
doing anything of the kind. If I lived even with Friday 
in Juan Fernandez, either Friday must do all the darning, 
or else it must go undone. The better men that I meant 
were the sailors in the British navy, every man of whom 
mends his own stockings. Who else is to do it? Do you 
suppose, reader, that the junior lords of the admiralty are 
under articles to darn for the navy? 

The reason, meantime, for my systematic hatred of 


JD’Aro is this. There was a story current in France before 
the Revolution, framed to ridicule the pauper aristocracy, 
who happened to have long pedigrees and short rent rolls; 
viz., that a head of such a house, dating from the Crusades, 
was overheard saying to his son, a Chevalier of St Louis, 
Chevalier, as-iu donne au cochon d manger Now, it is 
clearly made out by the surviving evidence, that D’Arc 
would much have preferred continuing to say, “ Ma Jille 
asdu donne au cochon d manger to saying, ** Pucelle 
Orleans, as-tu sauve les fieurs-dedysV* There is an old 
English copy of verses which argues thus: — 

'' If tho man that turnips cries, 

Cry not when his father dies. 

Then *tis plain the man had rather 
Havo a turnip than his father.*’ 

I cannot say that the logic of these verses was ever 
entirely to my satisfaction. I do not see my way through 
it as clearly as could bo wished. But I see my way most 
clearly through D’Arc; and the result is — that he’ would 
greatly have preferred not merely a turnip to his father, 
but the saving a pound or so of bacon to saving the 
Oriflamme of France. 

It is probable (as M . Michelet suggests) that the title of 
Virgin, or Pucelle, had in itself, and apart from the mira- 
culous stories about her, a secret power over the rude 
soldiery and partisan chiefs of that period ; for, in such a 
person, they saw a representative manifestation of the 
Virgin Mary, who, in a course of centuries, had grown 
steadily upon the popular heart. 

to Joanna’s supernatural detection of the dauphin 
(Carles VII.) amongst three hundred lords and knights, 

1 1 am surprised at the credulity which could ever lend itself 
to that theatrical juggle. Who admires more than myself 



tbe sublime enthusiasm^ the rapturous fhith in herself, of 
this pure creature? But I am far from admiring stage 
artifices, which not La Pucelle, but the court, must have 
arranged; nor can surrender myself to the conjurer’s kgci'- 
demain^ such as" may be seen every day for a shilling. 
Southey’s “Joan of Arc” was published in 1796. Twenty 
years after, talking with Southey, I was surprised to find 
him still owning a secret bias in favour of Joan, founded 
on her ‘detection of the dauphin. The story, for the 
benefit of the reader new to the case, was* this: — Za 
Pucelle was first made known to the dauphin, and pre- 
sented to his court, at Chinon: and here came her first 
trial. By way of testing her supernatural pretensions, 
she was to find out the royal personage amongst the 
whole ark of clean and unclean creatures. Failing in 
this covp d'essai, she would not simply disappoint many a 
beating heai^t in the glittering crowd that on difierent 
motives yearned for her success, but she would ruin her- 
self — and, as the oracle within had told her, would, by 
ruining herself, ruin France. Our own sovereign lady 
Victoria rehearses annually a trial not so severe in degree, 
but the same in kind. She “ pricks” for sheriffs. Joanna 
pricked for a king. But* observe the difference: our own 
lady pricks fbr two men out of three; Joanna for one man 
out of three hundred. Happy Lady of the islands and the 
orient! — she can go astray in her choice only by one half: 
to the extent of one half she musf have the satisfaction of 
being right. And yet, even with these tight limits to the 
misery of a boundless discretion, peimit me, liege Lady, 
with all loyalty, to submit — that now and then you prick 
with your pin the wrong man. But the poor child from 
Domrdmy, shrinking under the gaze of a dazzling court — ; 
not because dazzling (for in visions she had seen those that 




were more so), but because some of them wore a scoffing 
smile on their features — ^how should throw hbr line 
into so deep a river to angle for a king, where many a 
gay creature was sporting that masqueraded as kings in 
dress! Nay, even more than any true king would have 
done: for, in Southey’s version of the story, the dauphin 
says, by way of trying the virgin’s magnetic sympathy 
with royalty. 

On the throae, 

• I4he while mingling with the menial throng. 

Some courtier shall be seated.*’ 

This usurper is even crowned : “ the jewelled crown 
shines on a menial’s head.** But really, that is “ un peu 
fort;'* and the mob of spectators might raise a scruple 
whether our friend the jackdaw upon the throne, and the 
dauphin himself, were not grazing the shins of treason. 
For the dauphin could not lend more than belonged to 
him. According to the popular notion, he had no crown 
for himself; consequently none to lend, on any pretence 
whatever, until the consecrated Maid should take him to 
Bheims. This was the popular notion in France, But 
certainly it was the dauphin’s interest to support the 
popular notion, as he meant to ilse the services of Joanna. 
For, if he were king already, what was it that she could do 
for him beyond Orleans? That is to say, what more than a 
merely miliiavy service could she render him? And, above 
all, if he were king without a coronation, and without the 
oil from the sacred ampulla, what advantage was yet open 
to him by celerity above his competitor, ^e English boy? 
Now was to be a race for a coronation: he that should* 
w|||K race carried the superstition of France along 
wHinim: he that should first be drawn from the ovend of 



La Pucelle^ before she could be allowed to practise os a 
warrior, was put through her manual and platoon exercise , 
as a pupil in divinity, at the bar of six eminent men in 
wigs. According to Southey (v. 393, Book III,, in the 
original edition of his Joan of Arc'*), she ‘'appalled the 
doctors.” It’s not easy to do t/iat: but they had some 
reason to feel bothered, as that surgeon would assuredly 
feel bothered, who, upon proceeding to dissect a subject, 
should find the subject retaliating as a dissector upon him- 
self, especially if Joanna over made the speech to them 
which occupies v. 354-391, B. III. It is a double impos- 
sibility: Ist, because a piracy from Tindal’s “Christianity 
as old as the Creation” — a ^nracy d parte ante, and by three 
centuries; 2dly, it is quite contrary to the evidence on 
Joanna’s trial. Southey’s “Joan” of a,d. 1796 (Cottle, 
Bristol) tells the doctors, amongst other secrets, that she 
never in her life attended — 1st, Mass; nor 2d, the Sacra- 
mental table; nor 3d, Confession. In the meantime, all 
this deistical confession of Joanna’s, besides bein^ suicidal 
for the interest of her cause, is opposed to the depositions 
upon both trials. The very best witness called from first 
to last deposes that Joanna attended these rites of her 
church even too often; was taxed with doing so; and, by 
blushing, owned the charge as a fact, though certainly not 
as a fault. Joanna was a girl of natural piety, that saw 
God in forests, and hills, and fountains; but did not the 
less seek him in chapels and consecrated oratories. 

This peasant girl was self-educated through her own 
natural meditativeness. If the readef turns to that divine 
passage in “Paradise Regained,” which Milton has put 
into the mouth of our Saviour when first entering the wil- 
derness, and musing upon the tendency of those great im- 
pulses growing vdthin himself— 


** Ob, wbat a multitude of thoughts at once 
Awaken’d in me swarm, while 1 consider 
What from within I feel myself, and hear 
What from without comes often to my ears, 

111 sorting with my present state compared ! 

When I was yet a child, no childish play 
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set 
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do 
What might be public good; myself 1 thought 
Born to that end” — 

he will have some notion of the vast reveries which 
brooded over the heart of Joanna in early girlhood, when 
the wings were budding that should carry her from Orleans 
to Eheims; when the golden chariot was dimly revealing 
itself, that should carry her from the kingdom of France 
Delivered to the eternal kingdom. 

It is not requisite, for the honour of Joanna, nor is there, 
in this place, room, to pursue her brief career of action. 
That, though wonderful, forms the earthly part of her 
story; the spiritual part is the saintly passion of her im- 
prisonment. trial, and execution. It is unfortunate, there- 
fore, for Southey’s “ Joan of Arc” (which, however, should 
always be regarded as o, juvenile effort), that, precisely when 
her real glory begins, the fjocm ends. But this limitation 
of the interest grew, no doubt, from the constraint insepa- 
rably attached to the law of epic unity. Joanna’s history 
bisects into two opposite hemispheres, and both could not 
have been presented to the eye in one poem, unless by sa- 
cri^ing all unity of theme, or else by involving the earlier 
^i^ ns a narrative "episode, in the latter; which, however, 
(it have been ddhe, for it might haye been communi- 
cated to a fellow-prisoner, or a confessor, by Joanna her- 
self. It is sufficient, as concerns this section of Joanna’s 
life, to say that she fulfilled, to the height of her proftiilies, 
the restoration of the prostrate thrope. France had be- 


. 227 

come a province of England; and for tbe ruin of botb^ if 
6uch a yoke could be maintained. Dreadful pecuniary ex* 
baustion caused tbe English energy to droop; and that cri- 
tical openiog La Pucelle used with a corresponding felicity 
of audacity and suddenness (that were in themselves por- 
tentous) for introduciug the wedge of French native re- 
sources, for rekindling the national pride, and for planting 
the dauphin once more upon his feet. When Joanna ap- 
peared, he had been on the point of giving up the struggle 
with the English, distressed as they were, and of flying to 
the south of France. She taught him to blush for such 
abject counsels. She liberated Orleans, that great city, so 
decisive by its fate for the issue of the war, and then be- 
leaguered by the English with an elaborate application of 
engineering skill unprecedented in Europe. Entering the 
city after^unset, on the 29th of April, she sang mass on 
Sunday, May 8, for the entire disappearance of the besieg- 
ing force. On the 29 th of June, she fought and gained 
over the English the decisive battle of Patay ; on the 9th 
of July, she took Troyes by a coup-de-main from a mixed 
garrison of English and Burgundians; on the 15tb of 
that month, she carried the dauphin into Eheiius; on 
Sunday the 17th, she crowned him; and there she rested 
from her labour of triumph. All that was to be done, 
she had now accomplished: what remained was — to 

All this forward movement was her own: excepting one 
man, the whole council was against her. Her enemies 
were all that drew power from earth. Her supporters 
were her own strong enthusiasm, and the headlong con- 
tagion by which she carried this sublime frenzy into the 
heciil^ of women, of soldiers, and of all who lived by labour. 
Henc^for wards she was thwarted; and the worst error that 



slie committed \fraSj to lend the sanction of her presence to 
counsels which she had ceased to approve. But she had 
now accomplished the capital objects which her own visions 
had dictated. These involved all the rest. Errors were 
now less important; and doubtless it had now become 
more difficult for herself to pronounce authentically what 
were errors. The noble girl had achieved, as by a rapture of 
motion, the capital end of clearing out a free space around 
her sovereign, giving him the power to move his arms with 
effect; and, secondly, the inappreciable end of winning for 
that sovereign what seemed to all France the heavenly 
ratification of his rights, by crowning him with the ancient 
solemnities. She had made it impossible for the English 
now to step before her. They were caught in an irre- 
trievable blunder, owing partly to discord amongst the 
uncles of Henry VI., partly to a want of funds, ^ut partly 
to the very impossibility which they believed to press with 
tenfold force upon any French attempt to forestall theirs. 
They laughed at such a thought; and whilst they laughed, 
she did it. Henceforth the single redress for the English 
of this capital oversight, but which never could have re- 
dressed it effectually, was to vitiate and taint the corona- 
tion of Charles VII. as the work of a witch. That policy, 
and not malice (as M. Michelet is so happy to believe), was 
the moving principle in the subsequent prosecution of 
Joanna. Unless they unhinged the force of the first coro- 
nation in the popular mind, by associating it with power 
given from hell, they felt that the sceptre of the invader 
was broken. 

But she, the child that, at nineteen, had wrought Won- 
ders so great for France, was she not elated ) Did she not 
lose, as men so often have lost, all sobriety of mind when 
standing upon the pinnacle of success so giddy 1 Let her 


enemies declare. During the progress of her moyement, 
and in the centre of feromous struggles, she had manifested 
the temper of her feelings, by the pity which she had every- 
where expressed for the suffering enemy. She forwarded 
to the English leaders a touching invitation to unite with 
the French, as brothers, in a common crusade against in- 
fidels, thus opening the road for a soldierly retreat. She 
interposed to protect the captive or the wounded — she 
mourned over the excesses of her countrymen — she threw 
herself off her horse to kneel by the d)ing English soldier^ 
and to comfort him with such ministrations, physical or 
spiritual, as his situation allowed. Nolebat,” says the 
evidence, " uti ense suo, aut quern quam interficere,” She 
sheltered the English, that invoked her aid, in her own 
quarters. Slic wept as she beheld, stretched on the field 
of battle, ipo many brave enemies that had died without 
confession. And, as regarded herself, her elation expressed 
itself thus; — On the day when she had finished her work, 
she wept; for she knew that, wlien her triumphal task was 
done, her end must be approaching. Her aspirations pointed 
only to a place, which seemed to her more than usually full 
of natural piety, as one in which it would give her pleasure 
to die. And she uttered, between smiles and tears, as a 
wish that inexpiessibly fascinated her heart, and yet was 
half-fantastic, a broken prayer that God would return her 
to the solitudes from which he had drawn her, and suffer 
her tc become a shepherdess once more. It was a natural 
prayer, because nature has laid a necessity upon every 
human heart to seek for rest, and to shrink from torment. 
Yet, again, it was a half-fantastic prayer, because, from 
childhood upwairds, visions that she bad no power to mis- 
trust, and the voices which sounded in her ear for ever, 
had long since persuaded her mind, that for her no such 



prayer could be granted. Too well sbe felt that her mis^ 
sion must be worked out to the end, and that the end was 
now at hand. All went wrong from this time. She her- 
self had created the funds out of which the French restora- 
tion should grow; but she was not suffered to witness 
their development, or their prosperous application. More 
than one military plan was entered upon which she did 
not approve. But she still continued to expose her per- 
son as before. Severe wounds had not taught her caution. 
And at length] in a sortie from Compeigne (whether 
through treacherous collusion on the part of her own 
friends is doubtful to this day), she was made prisoner by 
the Burgundians, and finally surrendered to the English. 

Now came her trial. This trial, moving of course under 
English influence, was conducted in chief by the Bishop 
of Beauvais. He was a Frenchman, sold to English in- 
terests, and hoping, by favour of the English leaders, to 
reach the highest preferment. Bishop that art^ Archbishop 
that shalt he. Cardinal that mayest he, w’^ere the word^ that 
sounded continually hi his ear; and doubtless a whisper 
of visions still higher, of a triple crown, and feet upon the 
necks of kings, sometimes stole into liis heart. M. Mi- 
chelet is anxious to keep us in mind that this bishop was 
but an agent of the English. True. But it does not 
better the case for his countryman — that, being an accom- 
plice in the crime, making himself the leader in the perse- 
cution against the helpless girl, he was willing to be all 
this in the spirit, and with the conscious vileness of a cat’s- 
paw. Never from t^e foundations of the earth was there 
str^;a trial as this, if it were laid open in all its beauty 
of ^fence, and all its hcllishness of attack. Oh, child of 
France ! shepherdess, peasant girl 1 trodden under foot by 
all around thee, how 1 honour thy flashing intellect, quick 



as Qod’s lightning) and true as God’s lightning to its mark^ 
that ran before France and laggard Europe by many a 
century; confounding the malice of the ensnarer) and mak- 
ing dumb the oracles of falsehood ! Is it not scandalom^ 
is it not humiliating to civilisation) that, even at this day, 
France exhibits the horrid^ spectacle of judges examining 
the prisoner against himself; seducing him) by fraud, into 
treacherous conclusions against his own head; using the 
terrors of their power for extorting confessions from the 
frailty of hope; nay (which is worse), using the blandish^ 
ments of condescension and snaky kindness for thawing 
into compliances of gratitude those whom they had failed 
to freeze into terror ? Wicked judges ! Barbarian juris- 
prudence ] that) sitting in your own conceit on the summits 
of social wisdom, have yet failed to learn the first principles 
of criminal justice; sit ye humbly and with docility at the 
feet of this girl from Domrdmy, that tore your webs of 
cruelty into shreds and dust. Would you examine me 
as a witness against myself 1” was the question by which 
many times she defied their arts. Continually she showed 
that their interrogations were irrelevant to any business 
before the court, or that entered into the ridiculous 
charges against her. General questions were proposed tet 
her on points of casuistical divinity; two-edged questions, 
which not one of themselves could have answered, without, 
on the one side, landing himself in heresy (as then inter- 
preted), or, on the other, in some presumptuous expression 
of self-esteem. * Next came a wretched Dominican, that 
pressed her with an objection, whiclf, if applied to the 
Bible, would tax; every one of its miracles with unsound- 
ness. The monk had the excuse of never having read the 
Bible. M. Michelet has no such excuse; and it makes 
one blusl^for him, as a philosopher, to find him describing 


such an argument as weighty/* whereas it is but a varied 
expression of rude Mahometan metaphysics. Her answer 
to this, if there were room to place the whole iif a cleai 
light, was as shattering as it was rapid. Another thought 
to entrap her by asking what language the angelic visiters 
of her solitude had talked; as. though heavenly counsels 
could want polyglot interpreters for every word, or that 
God needed language at all in whispering thoughts to a 
human heart. Then came a worse devil, who asked her 
whether the Ifrchangel Michael had appeared naked. JSTot 
comprelieiiding the vile insinuation, Joanna, whose poverty 
suggested to her simplicity that it might be the costliness 
of suitable robes which caused the demur, asked them if 
they fancied God, who clothed the flowers of the valleys, 
unable to And raiment for his servants. The answer of 
Joanna moves a smile of tenderness, but the disappoint- 
ment of her judges makes one laugh exultingly. Others 
succeeded by troops, who upbraided her with leaving her 
father; as if that greater Father, whom she believed herself 
to have been serving, did not retain the power of dispens- 
ing with his own rules, or had not said, that for a less 
cause than martyrdom, man and woman shoufd leave both 
iiither and mother. 

On Easter Sunday, when the trial had been long pro- 
ceeding, the poor girl fell so ill as to cause a belief that she 
had been poisoned. It was not poison. Nobody had any 
interest in hastening a death so certain. M. Michelet, 
whose B} mpathies with all feelings are so quick, that one 
would gladly see thfem always as justly directed, reads the 
cade most truly. Joanna had a two-fold malady. She was 
visited by a paroxysm of the complaint called home-sickneas; 
■.the cruel nature of her imprisonment, and its length,' could 
not but point her solitary thoughts^ in darknei^ and in 



cliains (for chained she was), to Domrdmy. And the sea- 
son, which was the most heavenly period of the spring, 
added stings to this yearning. That was one of her mala- 
dies — nostalgial as medicine calls it; the other was weari- 
ness and exhaustion from daily combats with malice. She' 
saw that everybody hated her, and thirsted for her blood; 
nay, many kind-hearted creatures that would have pitied 
her profoundly, as regarded all political charges, had their 
natural feelings warped by the belief that she had dealings 
with fiendish powers. She knew she was to die; that was 
not the misery: the misery was, that this consummation 
could not be reached without so much intermediate strife, 
as if she were contending for some chance, (where chance 
was none) of happiness, or were dreaming for a moment 
of escaping the inevitable. Why, then, did she contend ? 
Knowing that she would reap nothing from answering 
her persecutors, why did she not retire by silence from 
the superfluous contest ? It was because her quick and 
eager loyalty to truth would not sufler her to see it dark- 
ened by frauds, which she could expose, but others, even 
of candid listeners, perhaps, could not; it was through 
that imperishable grandeur of soul, which taught her to 
submit meekly and without a struggle to her punishment, 
but taught her not to submits— no, not for a moment — to 
calumny as to facts, or to misconstruction as to motives. 
Besides, there were secretaries all around the court taking 
down her words. That was meant for np good to her. 
But the end does not always correspond to the meaning. 
And Joanna might say to herself — thejge words that will 
be used against mo to-morrow and the next day, perhaps 
in some nobler generation may rise again for my justifica- 
tion. Yes, Joanna, they are rising even now in Paris, and 
for more than justification. 



Woman, sisteiwthere are some things which you do not 
execute as well as your brother, man; no, nor ever will. 
Pardon me, if I doubt whether you will ever produce a 
great poet from your choirs, or a Mozart, or a Phidias, or 
a Michael Angelo, or a great philosopher, or a great 
scholar. By which last is meant — not one who depends 
simply on an infinite memory^ but also on an infinite and 
electrical power of combination; bringing together from 
the four winds, like the angel of the resurrection, what else 
were dust from dead men’s bones, into the unity of breath- 
ing life. If you can create yourselves into any of these 
great creators, 'why have you not? 

Yet, sister woman, though I cannot consent to find a 
Mozart or a Michael Angelo in your sex, cheerfully, and 
with the love that burns in depths of admiration, I ac- 
knowledge that yoy can do one thing as well as the best of 
us men — a greater thing than eveif Milton is known to 
have done, or Michael Angelo — ^you can die grandly, and 
as goddesses would die, were goddesses mortal. If any 
distant worlds (which may be the case) are so far ahead of 
us Tellurians in optical resources, as to see distinctly 
through their telescopes all that we do on earth, what U 
the grandest sight to which we ever treat them ? St Peter’s 
at Borne, do you fancy, on Easter Sunday, or Luxor, or 
perhaps the Himalayas? Oh no! my friend: suggest 
something better; these are baubles to them; they see in 
other worlds, in their own, far better toys of the same 
kind. These, take iny word for it, are nothing. Do you 
give it up ? The*finest thing, then, we have to show them 
is a Bcafibld on the morning of ^ ^ecution. I assure you 
there is a strong muster in those far telescopic worlds, 
on any such morning, of those who happen to find them- 
selves occupying the right hemisphere for a peep at U9. 



How, then, if it be announced in some such telescopic 
world by those who make a livelihood of catching glimpses 
at our newspapers, whose language they have long since 
deciphered, that the poor victim in the morning’s sacrifice 
is a woman How, if it be published in that distant 
world, that the sufierer wears upon her head, in the eyes 
of many, the garlands of martyrdom ? How, if it should 
be some Marie Antoinette, the widowed queen, coming 
forward on the scafibld, and presenting to the morning air 
her head, turned grey by sorrow, daughter of CsBsars kneel- 
ing down humbly to kiss the guillotine, as one that worships 
death ? How, if it were the noble Charlotte Corday, that in 
the bloom of youth, that with the loveliest of persons, 
that with homage waiting upon her smiles wherever she 
turned her face to scatter them — fiomaga that followed 
those spiiles as surely as the carols of birds, after showers 
in spring, follow the reappearing sun and the racing of 
sunbeams over the hills — ^yet thought all these things 
cheaper than the dust upon her sandals, in comparison of 
deliverance from hell for her dear suiTering France ! Ah ! 
these were spectacles indeed for those sympathising people 
in distant worlds; and some, perhaps, would suffer a sort 
of martyrdom themselves, because they could not testify 
their wrath, could not bear witness to the strength of love 
and to the fury of hatred that burned within them at 
such scenes; could not gather into golden urns some of 
that glorious dust which rested in the catacombs of earth. 

On the Wednesday after Trinity Sunday in 1431, being 
then about nineteen years of age, the Maid of Arc under- 
went her martyrdom. She was conducted before mid-day, 
guarded by eight hundred spearmen, to a platform of pro- 
digious height, constructed of wooden billets supported by 
occasional walls of lath and plaster, and traversed by hoi* 



low spaces in every direction for the creation of air cur- 
rents. The pile “struck terror/’ says M. Michelet, “by 
its height;” and, as usual, the English, purpose in this is 
viewed as one of pure malignity. But there are two ways 
of explaining all that. It is probable thait the purpose 
was merciful. On the circumstances of the execution I 
shall not linger. Yet, to mark the almost fatal felicity ol 
M. Michelet in finding out whatever may injure the Eng- 
lish name, at a moment when every reader will be inte- 
rested in Joanna’s personal appearance, it is really edifying 
to notice the ingenuity by whieh he draws into light from 
a dark corner a very unjust account of it, and neglects, 
though lying upon the high-road, a very pleasing one. 
Both are from English pens. Grafton, a chronieler, but 
little read, being a slifihecked John Bull, thought fit to 
say, that no wonder Joanna should be a virgin, since her 
“ foule face ” was a satisfactory solution of that particular 
merit. Holinshead, on the other hand, a chronicler some- 
what later, every way more important, and at one time 
universally read, has given a very pleasing testimony to 
the interesting character of Joanna’s person and engaging 
manners. Neither of these men lived till the following 
century, so that personally this evidence is none at all. 
Grafton sullenly and carelessly believed as he wished to 
believe; Holinshead took pains to inquire, and reports * 
undoubtedly the general impression of France. But I cite 
the case as illustrating M. Michelet’s candour.* 

* Amongst the many ebullitions of M. Michelet’s fury against us poor 
English, are four \vhich trill be likely to amuse tho reader; and they are 
the more conspicuous in collision with the justice which he sometimes 
doea ttt, and the very indignant admiration which, under some aspects, 
he irants to us. 

1. Our English literature he admires with some gnashing of teeth. 
Ho pronounces it ''fine and sombre," but, 1 lament to add, ''bceptical, 



The droumstantial incidents of the execution^ unless 
with more space than I can now command, I should be 

Judaic, Satanic— in a word, antichristian.” That Lord Byron should 
figure as a member of this diabolical corporation, will not surprise men. 
It w9l surprise thSm to hear that Milton is one of its Satanic leaders. 
Many are the generous and eloquent Frenchmen, besides Chateaubriand, 
who have, in the course of the last thirty years, nobly suspended their own 
burning nationality, in order to render a more rapturous homage at the 
feet of Milton ; aqd some of them have raised Milton almost to a level with 
angelic natures. Not one of them has thought of looking for him hdma 
the earth. As to Shakspere, M. Michelet detects in him a most extra- 
ordinary mare’s nest. It is this: he does ** not recollect to have seen the 
name of God” in any part of his works. On reading such words, it is 
natural to rub one’s eyes, and suspect that all one has ever seen in this 
world may have been a pure ocular delusion. In particular, I begin my- 
self to suspect, that the word **lagloire** never occurs in any Parisian 
journal. “The great English nation,” says M. Michelet^ “has one im- 
mense profound vice,” to wit, “pride.” Why, really that may be true; 
but we have a neighbour not absolutely clear of an “immense profound 
vice,” as like ours in colour and shape as cherry to cherry. In short, M. 
Michelet thinks us, by fits and starts, admirable, only that we are detest- 
able; and he would adore some of our authors, were it not that so 
tensely he could have wished to kick them. 

2. M. Michelet thinks to lodge an arrow in our sides by a very odd re- 
mark upon Thomas d. Kempis: which is, that a man of any conceivable 
European blood — a Finlander, suppose, or a Zautiote — might have writ* 
ten Tom; only not an Englishman. Whether an Englishman could have 
forged Tom, must remain a matter of doubt, unless the thing had been 
tried long ago. That problem was intercepted for ever by Tom’s perverse- 
ness in choosing to manufacture himself. Tet, since nobody is better 
aware than M. Michelet that this very point of Kempis having manufac- 
* tured Kempis is furiously and hopelessly litigated, throe or four nations 
claiming to have fbrgcd his work for him, the shocking old doubt will 
raise its snaky head once more — whether this forger, who rests in so much 
darkness, might not, after all, be of English blood. Tom, it may be 
feared, is known to modern English literature chiefly by an irreferent 
mention of his name in a line of Peter Pindar’s (Dr Wolcot) fifty years 
back, where he is described as 

“ Kempis Tom, 

Who clearly shows the way to Kingdom Come.” 

Few in these days can have read him, unless in the Methodist version of 
J ohn Wesley. Amongst those few, however, happens to be myself; which 
arose from tlie accident of having, when a bo^ of eleven, received a copy 
of the “De Imitatione Christi,” as a bequest fiom a relation, who died 



unwilling to relate. T should fear to injure, by imperfect 
report, a martyrdom which to myself appears so unspeak- 

very young; from which cause, and from the external prettiness of the 
hook, being a Glasgow reprint, by the celebrated Foulis, and gaily bound, 
I was induced to look into it; and finally read it many times over, partly 
out of some sympathy which, even in those days, I had with its siroplioity 
and devotional fervour; but much more from the savage delight I found 
in laughing at Tom’s Latinity. Thaty I freely grant to M. Miclielet, is 
inimitable. Yet, after all, it is not certain whether the original was 
Latin. But, however ihoX may have been, if it is possible that M. Miche- 
let* can be accurate in saying that there are no less than sixty French 
versions (not editions, observe, but separate versions) existing of the “De 
Imitatione,” how prodigious must have been the adaptation of the book 
to the religious heart of the fifteenth* century! Excepting the Bible, but 
excepting that only, in Protestant lands, no book known to man has had 
the same distinction. It is the most marvellous bibliographical fact on 

3. Our English girls, it seems, are as faulty in one way as we English 
males in another. None of us men could have written the Opera Omnia 
of Mr d, Kempis; neither could any of our girls have assumed male attire 
like La Pucelle, But whjl Because, says Michelet, English girls and 
fl^rman think so much of an indecorum. Well, that is a good fault, 
generally speaking. But M. Michelet ought to have remembered a fact 
in the martyrologics which justifies both parties — the French heroine for 
^oing, and the general choir of English girls for not doing. A female 
saint, specially renowned in France, had, for a reason as weighty as 
Joanna’s — viz., expressly to shield her modesty amongst men— worn a 
male military harness. That reason and that example authorised La 
PuccUe; hut our English girls, as a body, have seldom any such reason, 
and certainly no such saintly example, to plead. This excuses them, 

* If M. Michelet can he accurate:** — However, on consideration, this 

statement does not depend on Michelet. The bibliographer Barhier has 
absolutely specified sixty in a separate dissertation, soixanfe traductions, 
amongst those even that have not escaped the search. The Italian trans- 
lations are said to ho thirty. As to mere editions, not counting the early 
MRS, for half-a-century before printing was introduced, those in Latin 
amount to two thousand, and those in French to one thousand. Mean- 
time, it is very clear to me that this astoni. ling popularity, so entirely 
^unparalleled in literature, could not have existed except in Roman 
Catholic times, nor subsequently have lingered in any Protestant land. 
It was the denial of Scripture fountains to thirsty lands which xtfiide this 
slender rill of Scripture truth so passionately welcome. 



ably grand. Tet for a purpose^ pointing not at Joanna, 
but at M. Michelet — viz., to convince him that an English- 

Yet, still, if it is indispensable to the national oliaraoter that our young 
women should now and then trespass over the frontier of decorum, it 
then becomes a patriotic duty in me to assure M. Michelet that we have 
such ardent females amongst us, and in a long series— some detected in 
naval hospitals, when too sick to remember their disguise; some on holds 
of battle; multitudes never detected at all; some only suspected; and 
others discharged without noise by war offices and other absurd people. 
In our navy, both royal and commercial, and generally from deep remem- 
brances of slighted love, women have sometimes served in disguise for 
many years, taking contentedly their daily allowance of burgoo, biscuit, 
or cannon-balls — anything, in short, digestiblo or indigestible, tbat it 
might please Providence to send. One thing, at least, is to their credit: 
never any of these poor masks, with their deep silent remembrances, 
have been detected through murmuring, or what is nautically understood 
by “skulking.” So, for once, M. Michelet has an erratuniio enter upon 
the fly-leaf of his hook in presentation copies. 

4. But the last of these ebullitions is the most lively. We English, at 
Orleans, and after Orleans (which is not quite so extraordinary, if all 
were told), fled before the Maid of Arc. Yes, says M. Michelet, you did: 
deny it, if you can. Deny it, mon ch&'i I don't mean to deny it. Eun- 
ning away, in many cases, is a thing so excellent, that no philosopher 
would, at times, condescend to adopt any other step. All of us nations 
in Europe, without one exception, have shown our philosophy in that 
way at times. Even people, “ qui ne se rendent pas” have deigned both 
to run and to shout, Suave qui pent I** at odd times of sunset; though, 

for mv part, I have no pleasure in recalling unpleasant remembrances 
to brave men; apd yet, really, being so philosophic, they ought not to be 
unpleasant. But tho amusing feature in M. Michelet’s reproach is the 
way in which he improves and varies against us the charge of running, 
as if he were singing a catch. ^Listen to him. They ** showed then' 
lacks,” did these English, ^(llip, hip, hurrali! three times three!) ** Be- 
hind good walla they let themsdves be taken.” (Hip, hip! nine times nine!) 
They ** ran as fast as their legs could carry them.” (Hurrah! twenty- 
seven times twenty-seven!) They ^*ran before a girl;” they did. 
(Hurrah! eighty-one times eighty-one!) This reminds one of criminal • 
indictments on the old model in English couits, where (for fear the pri- 
soner should escape) the crown lawyer varied the charge perhaps through 
forty counts. Tho law laid its guns so as to rake the accuifed at every 
possible angle. Whilst the indictment was reading, he seemed a nionster of 
crime in his own eyes; and yet after all, the poor felljow had but committed 
one offence, and not always theUm N J}.— -Not having the French original 



man is capable of thinking more highly of La Pucelh 
than even her admiring countrymen — I shall, in parting, 
allude to one or two traits in Joanna’s demeanour on the 
scaffold, and to one or two in that of the bystanders, which 
authorise me in questioning an opinion of his upon this 
martyr’s firmness. The reader ought to be reminded that 
Joanna D’ Arc was subjected to an unusually unfair trial of 
opinion. Any of the elder Christian martyrs had not 
much to fear of personal rancour. The martyr was chiefly 
regarded as the enemy of Caesar; at times, also, where 
any knowledge of the Christian faith and morals existed, 
with the enmity that arises spontaneously in the worldly 
against the spiritual. But the martyr, though disloyal, 
was not supposed to be, therefore, anti-national; and still 
less was individually hateful. What was hated (if anything) 
belonged to his class, not to himself separately. Now, 
Joanna, if hated at all, was hated personally, and in Rouen 
on national grounds. Hence there would be a certainty 
of calumny arising against her, such as would not affect 
martyrs in general. That being the case, it would follow 
of necessity that some people would impute to her a will- 
ingness to recant. No innocence could escape that. Now, 
had she really testified this willingness on the scaffold,, it 
would have argued nothing at all but the weakness of a 
genial nature shrinking from tiie instant approach of tor- 
ment. And those will often pity that weakness most, who, 
in their own persons, would yield to it least. Meantime, 
there never was a calumny uttered that drew less support 
from the recorded circumstances. It rests upon no positive 
testimony, and it has a weight of v ^ntradicting testimony 

at hand, I make my quotations from a friend’s copy of Mr Walter Kelly’s 
translation, which seems to me faithful, spiiited, and idiomatically English 
—liable, in fact, only'to the single reproach of occasional provincialisms. 



to stem. And yet, strange to say, M. Michelet, who at 
times seems to admire the Maid of Arc as much as I do, 
is the one sole writer amongst her friends who lends some 
countenance to this odious slander. His words are, that, 
if she did not utter this word recant with her lips, she 
uttered it in her heart. Whether she said the word is 
uncertain: but I affirm that she thought it.” 

Now, I affirm that she did not; not in any sense of the 
word ** thought" applicable to the case. Here is France 
calumniating La Pucelle: here is England defending her. 
M. Michelet can only mean that, on a priori principles, 
every woman must bo presumed liable to such a weakness: 
that Joanna was a woman; ergo, that she was liable to such 
a weakness. That is, ho only supposes her to have uttered 
the word by an argument which presumes it impossible 
for anybody to have done otherwise. I, on the contrary, 
throw the onus of the argument not on presumable ten- 
dencies of nature, but on the known facts of that morning’s 
execution, as recorded by multitudes. What else, I de- 
mand, than mere weight of metal, absolute nobility of 
deportment, broke the vast line of battle then arrayed 
against her? What else but her meek, saintly demeanour 
won, from the enemies that till now had believed her a 
witch, tears of rapturous admiration ? “ Ten thousand 

men,” says M. Michelet himself — "ten thousand men wept;” 
and of these ten thousand the majority were political ene- 
mies knitted together by cords of superstition. What else 
was it but her constancy, united with her angelic gentle- 
ness, that drove the fanatic English joldier — who had 
sworn to throw a faggot on her scalfold, as his tribute 'of 
abhorrence, that did so, that fulfilled his vow — suddenly 
to turn away a penitent for life, saying everywhere that he 
had seen a dove rising upon wings to heaven from the allies 

L — III, 



where she had stood? What else drove the executioner 
to kneel at every shrine for pardon to his share in the 
tragedy ? And, if all this were insuflScient, then I cite the 
closing act of her life, as valid on her behalf, were all other 
testimomes against her. The executioner had been directed 
to apply his torch from below. He did so. The fiery 
smoke rose upwards in billowing volumes. A Dominican 
monk was then standing almost at her side. Wrapped up 
in his sublime office, he saw not the danger, but still per- 
sisted in his prayers. Even then, when the last enemy was 
racing up the fiery stairs to seize her, even at that moment 
did this noblest of girls think only for him^ the one friend 
that would not forsake her, and not for herselfj bidding him 
with her last breath to care for his own preservation, but 
to leave her to Qod. That girl, whose latest breath ascended 
in this sublime expression of self-oblivion, did not* utter the 
word recant either with her lips or in her "heart. Ho; she 
did not, though one should rise from the dead to swear it. 

Bishop of Beauvais ! thy victim died in fire upon a scaf- 
fold — thou upon a down bed. But for the departing 
minutes of life, both are oftentimes alike. At the farewell 
crisis, when the gates of death are opening, and flesh is 
resting from its struggles, oftentimes the tortured and the 
torturer have the same truce from carnal torment; both 
sink together into sleep; together both sometimes kindle 
into dreams. When the mortal mists were gathering fast 
upon you two, bishop and shepherd girl — when the pavi- 
lions of life were elosing up their shadowy curtains about 
*'yon — let us try, th.ough the gig,,ntio glooms, to decipher 
tie flying features of your separate visions. 

The shepherd girl that had delivered France — she, from 
her dungeon, she, from her baiting at the stake, she. from 



her duel with fire, as she entered her last dream — saw 
Domremy, saw the fountain of Domremy, saw the pomp 
of forests in which her childhood had wandered. That 
Easter festival, which man had denied to her languishing 
heart — that resurrection»of spring-time, which the dark- 
ness of dungeons had intercepted from hungering after 
the glorious liberty of forests — were by God given back 
into her hands, as jewels that had been stolen from her by 
robbers. With those, perhaps (for the minutes of dreams 
can stretch into ages), was given back to her by God the 
bliss of childhood. By special privilege, for her might be 
created, in this farewell dream, a second childhood, inno- 
cent as the first; but not, like that^ sad with the gloom of 
a fearful mission in the rear. This mission had now been 
fulfilled. The storm was weathered, the skirts even of that 
mighty storm were drawing off. The blood that she was 
to reckon for had been exacted; the tears that she was to 
shed in secret had been paid to the last. The hatred to her- 
self in all eyes had been faced steadily, had been suffered, 
had been survived. And in her last fight upon the scaffold 
she had triumphed gloriously; victoriously she had tasted 
the stings of death. For all, except this comfort from her 
farewell dream, she had died — died, amidst the tears of ten 
thousand enemies — died, amidst the drums and trumpets 
of armies — died, amidst peals redoubling upon peals, vol- 
leys upon volleys, from the saluting clarions of martyrs. 

Bishop of Beauvais ! because the guilt-burdened man is 
ill dreams haunted and waylaid by the most frightful of 
his crimes, and because upon that fluctuating mirror — 
rising (like the mocking mirrors of mirage in Arabian de- 
serts) from the fens of death — most of all are reflected the 
sweet countenances which the man has laid in ruins; there- 
fore I know, bishop, that you also, entering your final 



dream^ saw Doraremy. That fountain, of which the wit- 
nesses spoke so much, showed itself to your eyes in pure 
morning dews: but neither dews, nor the holy dawn, could 
cleanse away the bright spots of innocent blood upon its 
surface. By the fountain, bishop, you saw a woman seated, 
that hid her face. But as you dra\^ near, the woman raises 
her wasted features. Would Domrdmy know them again 
for the features of her child] Ah, but you know them, 
bishop, well I Oh, mercy ! what a groan was that which 
the servants, waiting outside the bishop’s dream at his 
bedside, heard from his labouring heart, as at this moment 
he turned away from the fountain and the woman, seeking 
rest in the forests afar off. Yet not so to escape the woman, 
whom once again he must behold before he dies. In the 
forests to which he prays for pity, will he find a respite ] 
What a tumult, what a gathering of feet is there 1 In 
glades, where only wild deer should run, Armies and na- 
tions are assembling; towering in the fluctuating crowd 
are phantoms that belong to departed hours. There is 
the great English Prince, Eegent of France. There is my 
Lord of Winchester, the princely cardinal, that died and 
made no sign. There is the Bishop of Beauvais, clinging 
to the shelter of thickets. What building is that which 
hands so rapid are raising] Is it a martyr’s scaffold] 
Will they burn the child of Domremy a second time] No; 
it is a tribunal that rises to the clouds; and two nations 
stand around it, waiting for a trial. Shall my Lord of 
Beauvais sit again upon the judgment-seat, and again 
number the hours iox the innocent] Ah no! he is the at the bar. Already all 's waiting: the mighty 
audience is gathered, the Court is hurrying to their seats, 
the witnesses are arrayed, the trumpets are sounding, the 
judge is taking his place. Oh! but this is sudden. My 



lord, have you no counsel? "Counsel I have none: in heaven 
above, or on earth beneath, counsellor there is none now 
that would take a brief from me; all are silent.” Is it, 
indeed, come to this? Alas! the time is short, the tumult 
is wondrous, the crowd 'Stretches away into infinity, but 
yet I will search in it for somebody to take your brief : I 
know of somebody that will be your counsel. Who is this 
that conieth from Domrcmy ? Who is she in bloody coro- 
nation robes from Eheims? Who is she that cometh with 
blackened flesh from walking the furnaces of Eouen? This 
is she, the shepherd girl, counsellor that had none for her- 
self, whom I choose, bishop, for yours. She it is, I engage, 
that shall take my lord’s brief. She it is, bishop, that 
would plead for you; yes, bishop, she — when heaven and 
earth are silent. 


Great misconceptions have always prevailed about tho 
Roman dinner. Dinner \c(md\ was tho only meal which 
the Romans as a nation took. It was no accident, but 
arose out of their whole social economy. This I shall 
endeavour to show, by running through the history of a 
Roman day. Uidentem dicere verim quid vetatf And the 
course of this review will expose one or two important 
truths in ancient political economy, which have been too 
much overlooked. 

With the laik it was that the Roman rose. Not that 
the earliest lark rises so early in Latium as the earliest 
lark in England, that is, during summer: but then, on the 
other hand, neither does it ever rise so late. The Roman 
citizen was stirring with the dawn — which, allowing for 
the shorter longest-day and longer shortest- day of Rome, 
yoi! may call about four in summer — about seven in 
winter. Why did he do this? Because ho went to bed at 
'a very early hour. But why did He do that? By back- 
ing,!^ this way, we shall surely back into the very well of 
tru^: always, where it is possible, let us have ihepourquoi 
of the pourquoi. The Roman went to bed early for two 
remarkable reasons. 1st, because in Rome, built for a 



martial destiny, every habit of life had reference to the 
usages of war. Every citizen, if he were not a mere pro- 
letarian animal kept at the public cost, with a view to his 
proles or offering, held himself a soldier-elect: the more 
noble he was, the more was his liability to military ser- 
vice; in short, -ell Kome, and at all times, was consciously 

in procinct.” * Now it was a principle of ancient war- 
fare, that every hour of daylight had a triple worth, as 
valued against hours of darkness. That was one reason — 
a reason suggested by the understanding. But there was 
a second reason, far more remarkable; and this was a rea- 
son suggested by a blind necessity. It is an important 
fact, that this planet on which we live, this little indus- 
trious earth of ours, has developed her wealth by slow 
stages of increase. She was far from being the rich little 
globe in Caesar’s days that she is at present. The earth in 
our days is incalculably richer, as a whole, than in the 
time of Charlemagne; and at that time she was richer, by 
many a million of acres, than in the era of Augustus. In 
that Augustan era we descry a clear belt of cultivation, 
averaging perhaps six hundred miles in depth, running in 
a ring-fence about the Mediterranean. This belt, and no 
more, was in decent cultivation. Beyond that belt, there 
was only a wild Indian cultivation; generally not so much. 
At present, what a difference! We have that very belt, 
but much richer, all things considered, eequatis eequandis, 
than in the Eoman era and much beside. The rcaPfler 
must not look to single cases, as that of Egypt or other 
parts of Africa, but take the whole collectively. On that 
scheme ot valuation, we have the old Eoman belt, the 
circum Mediterranean girdle not much tarnished, and we 

*** In procinct — Milton's translation (somewhere in the “ Paradise 
Regained”) of tire technical phrase “in procinctu.” 



have all the rest of Europe to boot. Such being the case, 
the earth, being (as a whole) in that Fagan era so incom- 
parably poorer, could not in the Pagan era support the ex- 
pense of maintaining great empires in cold latitudes. Her 
purse would not reach that cost; Wherever she undertook 
in those early ages to rear man in great abundance, it must 
be where nature would consent to work in partnership 
with herself;* where warmth was to be had for nothing; 
where clothes were ’not so entirely indispensable, but that 
a ragged fellow might still keep himself warm; wher^ 
slight shelter might serve; and where the soily if not 
absolutely richer in reversionary wealth, was more easily 
cultured. Nature, in those days of infancy, must come 
forward liberally, and take a number of shares in every 
new joint-stock concern, before it could move. Man, 
therefore, went to bed early in those ages, simply because 
his worthy mother earth could not afford him candles. 
She, good old lady (or good young lady, for geologists 
know not* whether she is in that stage of her progress 
which corresponds to grey hairs, or to infancy, or to “ a 
certain age”) — she, good lady, would certainly have shud- 
dered to hear any of her nations asking for candles. 

Candles, indeed ! ” she would have said ; " who ever 
heard of such a thing? and with so much excellent day- 
light running to waste, as I have provided gratis I What 
will the wretches want next?” 

fThe daylight furnished gratis was certainly “ unde- 

* Geologists know not :” — In man, the sixtieth part of six thousand 
years is a very venerable age. But as to the planet, as to our little earth, 
of arguing dotage, six thousand year may have s^rcely carried 
heyMyond babyhood. Some people think she is catting her first teeth; 
some think her in her teens. But, seriously, it is a very interesting 
problem. Do the sixty centuries of our earth imply youth, maturity, or 
dotage ? 



niablo” in its quality^ and quite sufficient for all purposes 
that were honest. Seneca, even in his own luxuiious 
period, called those men lucifagcs^' and by other ugly 
names, who Jived chiefly by candle-light. None but rich 
and luxurious men, nay,* even amongst these, none but 
idlers, did live or could live by candle-liglit. An immense 
majority of men in Rome never lighted a candle, unless 
sometimes in the early dawn. And this onstom of Rome 
was the custom also of all nations that lived round the 
great lake of the Mediterranean. In Athens, Egypt, 
Palestine, Asia Minor, everywhere, the ancients went to 
bed, like good boys, from seven to nine o’clock.* The 
Turks and other people who have succeeded to the stations 
and the habits of the ancients, do so at this day. 

The Roman, therefore, who saw no joke in sitting round 
a table in the dark, went off to bed as the darkness began. 
Everybody did so. Old Numa Pompilius himself was 
obliged to trundle off in the’dusk. Tarquinius might be a 
very superb fellow; but I doubt whether he ever saw a 
farthing rushlight. And, though it may be thought that 
plots and conspiracies would flourish in i^uch a city of 

* ** Everywh&e the ancimts went to led, like good hoys, from seven to 
nine o'clock;” — As I am perfectly serious, I must beg the reader, who 
fancies any joke in all this, to consider what an immense diflFerence it 
must have made to the earth, considered as a steward of her own re- 
sources — whether gieat nations, in a pciiod when their resources weiji^ so 
feebly developed, did, or did not, for many centuries, requiie candles; 
and, I may add, fire. The five heads of human expenditure are — 1. 

Food; 2. Shelter; 3. Clotliiug; 4. Fuel; 5. Light. All were pitched on 
a lower scale in the Pagan era; and the two last were almost banished 
from ancient housekeeping. What a great»relief this must have been to 
our good mother the .earth! who at first was obliged to request of her 
children that they would settle round the Mediterranean. She could not 
even afford them water, unless they would come and fetch it themselves 
out of a common tank or cistern. 



darkness, it is to be considered, that the conspirators 
themselves had no more candles than honest men; both 
parties were ip the dark. 

Being up, then, and stirring not long after the lark, 
what mischief did the Homan* go about first? Now-a- 
days, he would have taken a pipe or a cigar. But, alas 
for the ignorance of the poor heathen creatures 1 they had 
neither one nojr the other. In this point, I must tax our 
mother earth with being really ioo stingy. In the case of 
the candles, I approve of her parsimony. Much mischief 
is brewed by candle-light. But -it was coming it too 
strong to allow no tobacco. Many a wild fellow in Eome, 
your Gracchi, Syllas, Catilines, would not have played 

— and Tommy” in the way they did, if they could 
have soothed their angry stomachs with a cigar: a pipe 
has intercepted many an evil scheme. But the thing is 
past helping now. At Rome you must do as ‘‘they does” 
at Rome. So, after shaving (supposing the age of the 
Barlaii to be past), what is the first business that our 
Roman will undertake ? Forty to one he is a poor man, 
born to look upwards to his fellow-men — and not to look 
down upon anybody but slaves. He goes, therefore, to 
the palace of some grandee, some top-sawyer of the sena- 
torian order. This great man, for all his greatness, has 
turned out even sooner than himself. For he also has 
had no candles and no cigarsj and he well knows that, 
before the sun looks into his portals, all his halls will be 
overflowing and buzzing with the matin susurrus of cour- 
tiers — the “mane sr.lutantcs.”* It is as much as his po- 

— ^ 

The mane aedutmtes :** — There can be no doubt that the levees oi 
m^rn princes and ministers have been inheiitcd from this ancient usa^e 
of Rome; one which belonged to Rome republican, as well as Rome im- 
perial. The fiction in our modern practice is— that wo "wait upon the 



pularity is worth to absent himself, or to keep people 
waiting. But surely, the reader may think, this poor 
man he might keep waiting. No, he mi|;ht not; for, 
though poor, being a citizen, the man is a gentleman. 
That was the consequence of keeping slaves. Wherever 
there is a class of slaves, he that enjoys the jus suffragii 
(no matter how poor) is a gentleman. The true Batin 
word for a gentleman is ingenuus — a freeman and the son 
of a freeman. 

Yet even here there were distinctions. Under the em- 
perors, the courtiers were divided into two classes: with 
respect to the superior class, it was said of the sovereign 
— that he saw them C videhat'*); with respect to the 
other — that ho was seen C* videbatur^'). Even Plutarch 
mentions it as a common boast in his times, rgiag 6 
paff/Xtvg — Ccesar is in the habit of seeing me; or, as a com- 
mon plea for evading a suit, — I am sorry 

to say he is more inclined to look upon others. And this usage 
derived itself (mark that well!) from the republican era. 
The aulic spirit was propagated by the empire, but from 
a republican root. 

Having paid his court, you will suppose that our friend 
comes home to breakfast. Not at all; no such discovery 
as “breakfast” had then been made; breakfast was not 
invented for many centuries after that. I have always 
admired, and always shall admire, as the very best of all 
human stories, Charles Lamb’s account of roasUporhy and 
its traditional origin in China. Ching Ping, it seems, had 
suffered his father’s house to bo burned down; the out- 

levcTf or rising of the prince. In Fiance, at ono era, this fiction was 
realised: the courtiers did really attend the king’s dressing. And, as to 
the qi;een, even up to the devolution, Marie Antoinette gave audience at 
her toilette. 



houses were burned along with the house: and in one of 
these the pigs, by accident, were roasted to a turn. Me- 
morable the results fbr all future China and future 
civilisation. Ping, who (like all China beside) had hitherto 
eaten his pig raw, now for the first time tasted it in a state 
of torrefaction. Of course he made his peace with his 
father by a part (tradition says a leg) of the new dish. 
The father was so astounded with the discovery, that he 
burned his house down once a-year for the sake of coming 
at an annual banquet of roast pig. A curious prying sort 
of fellow, one Chang Pang, got to.know of this. Ht also 
burned down a house with a pig in it, and had his eyes 
opened. The secret was ill kept — the discovery spread — 
many great conversions were made — houses were blazing 
in every part of the Celestial Empire. The insurance 
offices took the matter up. One Chong Pong, detected in 
the very act of shutting up a pig in his drawing-room, and 
then firing a train, was indicted on a charge of arson. The 
chief justice of Peking, on that occasion, requested an officer 
of the court to hand him up a piece of the roast pig, the 
corpus delicti: pure curiosity it was, liberal cuiiosity, that 
led him to taste; but within two days after, it was observed, 
says Lamb, that his lordship’s town-house was on fire. In 
short, all China apostatised to the new faith; and it was 
not until some ccntuiies had passed, that a man of pro- 
digious genius arose — viz., Chung Pung — who established 
the second era in the history of roast pig, by showing that 
it could be had without burning down a house. 

No such genius had yet arisen in Kome. Breakfast was 
suspected. No prophecy, no type of breakfast, had 
been published. In fact, it took as much time and re- 
search to arrive at that great discovery as at the Coper- 
nican system. True it is, reader, that you have heard of 



such a word jmtacuhm; and your dictionary translates 
that old heathen word by the Christian word breakfast 
But dictionaries are dull deceivers. jentaculum 

and breakfast the differences are as wide as between a horse- 
chestnut and a chestnut horse; differences in the time when, 
in the place where, in the manner how, but pre-eminently in 
the thing which, 

Galen is a good authority upon such a subject, since, if 
(like other Pagans) he ate no breakfast himself, in some 
sense he may be called the cause of breakfast to other 
men, by treating of those things which could safely be 
taken upon an empty stomach. As to the time, he (like 
many other authors) says, r^trr^v, fj (ro jcictx^ors^ov) cre§/ 
rsra^rtjv, about the third, or at farthest about the fourth 
hour: and so exact is he, that he assumes the day to. lie 
exactly between six and six o’clock, and to be divided into 
thirteen equal portions. So the time will be a few minutes 
before nine, or a few minutes before ten, in the forenoon. 
That seems fair enough. But it is not time in respect to 
its location that we are concerned with, so much as time 
in respect to its duration. Now, heaps of authorities take 
it for granted that you are not to sit down — you are to 
stand; and, as to the place, that any place will do — “any 
corper of the Forum,” says Galen, “ any corner that you 
fancy:” which is like referring a man for his salle-a-manger 
to Westminster Hall or Fleet Street. Augustus, in a let- 
ter still surviving, tells us that he jentabat, or took his 
jentaculum, in his carriage; sometimes in a wheel carriage 
(in essedo), sometimes in a litter or palanquin (in lectied). 
This careless and disorderly way as to time and place, 
and other circumstances of haste, sufficiently indicate the 
quality of the meal you are to expect. Already you are 
“sagacious of your quarry from so far.” Not that we 



would presume, excellent reader, to liken you to death, or 
to insinuate that you are a grim feature.” But would 
it not make^ saint “ grim,” to hear of such preparations 
for the morning meal? And then to hear of such con- 
summations as pants siccus, dry bread; or (if the learned 
reader thinks it wil> taste better in Greek), a^Tog ^ri^og ! 
And what may this word dry happen to mean? “ Does it 
mean stale?" says Salmasius. " Shall we suppose,” says he, 
in querulous words, et recenii opponi" that it is 

placed in antithesis to soft and new bread, what English 
sailors call soft tommy?" and from that antithesis conclude 
it to be, durum et non recens cocium, toque sicciorem?" Hard 
and stale, and in that proportion more arid? Not quite 
so bad as that, we hope. Or again — siccum pro hiscocto, ut 
liodiic vocamns, sutnemus?"* By hodie Salmasius means, 
amongst his countrymen of France, where hiscocths is ver- 
batim reproduced in the word his (twice), cuit (baked); 
whence our own hiscuit. Biscuit might do very well, could 
we be sure tliat it was cabin biscuit; but Salmasius argues 
— that in this case he takes it to mean ^'huccellatum, qui est 
pants nauticus;" that is, the ship company’s biscuit, broken 
with a sledge-hammer. In Greek, for the benefit again of 
the learned reader, it is termed dt^u^og, indicating that it 
has passed twice under the action of fire. 

"Well,” you say, "no matter if it had passed through 
the fires of Moloch; only let us have this biscuit, such as 
it is.” In good faith, then, fasting reader, you are not 
lik^v to see much more than you have seen. It is a very 
!inH||cide feast, ^w^ do assure you — this same "jentacu- 

♦ ^^Orayain, * siccum pro hiscoclo, ut hodie vocamvs, sumemusV 
Is odd enough that a scholar so complete as Salmasius, whom nothing 
ever escapes, should have overlooked so obvious an alternative as that of 
siccus in the sense of being without opsoniumr^Scottic^, without " kitchen. 



lam;” at which abstinence and patience arc much more 
exercised than the teeth: faith and hope are the chief 
graces cultivated, together with that specie|^of the magnU 
ficum which is founded on the ignotum. Even this biscuit 
was allowed in the most limited quantities; for which rea- 
son it is that the Greeks called this apology for a meal by 
the name of a word formed (as many words 

were in the Post- Augustan ages) from a Latin word — ^viz., 
hiiccea, a mouthful; not literally such, but so much as a 
polished man could allow himself to put into his mouth at 
once. “We took a mouthful,” says Sir William Waller, 
the parliamentary general — “ took a mouthful ; paid our 
reckoning; mounted; and were off.” But there Sir William 
means, by his plausible “mouthful,” something very much 
beyond cither nine or nineteen ordinary quantities of that 
denomination, whereas the Iloman “ jentaculum” was lite- 
rally such; and, accoidingly, one of the varieties under 
which the ancient vocabularies express this model of eva- 
nescent quantities is gusiatio, a mere tasting; and again, it 
is called by another variety gustus, a mere taste [whence 
comes the old French word gouster, for a refection or lun- 
cheon, and then (by the usual suppression of the s) gnuier]. 
Speaking of his uncle, Pliny the Younger says, “Post solcm 
plcruinque lavabatur; deinde gustabat; dormiebat mini- 
mum; mox, quasi alio die, siudebat m coense tempus:” “After 
taking the air, generally speaking, he bathed; after that he 
broke his fast on a morsel of biscuit, and took a very slight 
siesta: which done, as if awaking to a new day, he set in 
regularly to his studies, and pursued tjiem to dinner-time.” 
Gusialat here meant that nondescript meal which arose at 
Rome when jentaculum and prandlum were fused into one, 
and that only a taste or mouthful of biscuit, as we shall 
show farther cm 



Possibly, however, most excellent reader, like some 
epicurean traveller, who, in crossing the Alps, finds him- 
self weather-bound at St Bernard’s on Ash-Wednesday, 
you surmise a remedy: you descry some opening from 
“ the loopholes of a retreat,” through which a few delicacies 
might be insinuated to spread verdure on this arid wilder- 
ness of biscuit. Casuistry can do much, A dead hand 
at casuistry has often proved more than a match for Lent 
with all his quarantines. But iorry I am to say that, in 
this case, no relief is hinted at in any ancient author. 
A grape or two (not a bunch of grapes), a raisin or two, 
a date, an olive — these are the whole amount of relief* 
which the chancery of the Roman kitchen granted in such 
cas^s. All things here hang together, and prove each 
other — the time, the place, the mode, the thing. Well 
might man eat standing, or eat in public, such a trifle as 
this. Go home, indeed, to such a breakfast ! You would 
as soon think of ordering a cloth to be laid in order to eat 
a peach, or of asking a friend to join you in an orange. 
No man in his senses makes “two bites of a cherry.” So 
let us pass on to the other stages of the day. Only, in 
taking leave of this morning’s stage, throw your eyes back 
with me, Christian reader, upon this truly heathen meal, 
fit fbr idolatrous dogs like your Greeks and your Romans; 
surve}', through the vista of ages, that thrice-accursed 
biscuit, with half a fig, perhaps, by way of garnish, and a 
huge hammer by its side, to secure the certainty of masti- 

* ** I7ie whole amowat of 3 elief:** — From which it appears how grossly 

Locke (see his Education ”) was deceived in fancying that Augustus 
practised any remarkable abstinence in taking nly a bit of bread and a 
raisin or two, by way of luncheon. Augustus did no more than most 
^ people did; eeoondly, he abstained only upon principles of luxury with a 
view to dinner; and, thirdly, ioi this dinner he nevefwaited longer than 
up to four o’clock. 



cation, by previous comminution. Then turn your eyes to 
a Christian breakfast — hot rolls, eggs, coffee, beef; but 
down, down, rebellious visions: we need say no more ! You, 
reader, like myself, will breathe a malediction on the Clas- 
sical era, and thank your stars for making you a Eoman > 
ticist. Every morning I thank giinc for keeping me back 
from the Augustan age, and reserving me to a period in 
which breakfast had been already invented. In the words 
of Ovid, I say: — 

'* Prisca juvent alios: ego me nunc denique natum 
Gratulor. Hsbo sutas monbus apta meis.’* 

Our fiiend, the Eoman cit, has therefore thus far, in his 
progress through life, obtained no breakfast, if he ever 
contemplated an idea so frantic. But it occurs to you, my 
faithful reader, that perhaps he will not always be thus 
unhappy. I could bring waggon-loads of sentiments, 
Greek as well as Eoman, which prove, more clearly than 
the most eminent pike-staff, that, as the wheel of fortune 
revolves, simply out of the fact that it has carried a man 
downwards, it must subsequently carry him upwards, no 
matter what dislike that wheel, or any of its spokes, may 
bear to that man; ‘^aon, si male nunc sit, ct olim sic erit:’* 
and that if a man, through the madness of his nation, 
misses coffee and hot rolls at nine, he may easily run into 
a leg of mutton at twelve. True it is he may do so: truth 
is commendable: and I mil not deny that a man may 
sometimes, by losing a breakfast, gain a dinner. Such 
things have been in various ages, and will be again, but 
not at Eome. There were reasons against it. We have 
heard of men wlio consider life under the idea of a wilder- 
ness — dry as a ‘^remainder biscuit after a voyage:’* and 
who consider a day under the idea of a little life. Life is 

the macrocosm, or world at large: day is the microcosm, 
L 2 



or world in miniature. Consequently, if life is a wilder- 
ness, then day, as a little life, is a little wilderness. And 
this wilderness can be safely traversed only by having re- 
lays of fountains, or stages for refreshment. Such stages, 
they conceive, are found iiv the several meals which Pro- 
vidence has stationed at^due intervals through the day, 
whenever the perverseness of man does not breaje the chain, 
or derange the order of succession. 

These are the authors by which man rides in that bil- 
lowy ocean between morning and night. The first anchor — 
viz., breakfast — having given way in Eome, the more need 
there is that he should pull up by the second; and that is 
often reputed to be dinner. And as your dictionary, good 
reader, translated hreahfast by that vain word jentaculum^ 
so doubtless it will translate dinner by that still vainer 
word prandium. Sincerely I hope that your own dinner 
on this day, and through all time coming, may have a 
better root in fact and substance than this most visionary 
of all baseless things — the Eoman prandium — of which I 
shall presently show you that the most approved transla- 
tion is moonshine, 

Header, I am anything but jesting here. In the very 
spirit of serious truth, I assure you that the delusion about 
“jentaculum” is even exceeded by this other delusion 
about “prandium.” Salmasius himself, for whom a natural 
prejudice of place and time partially obscured the truth, 
admits, however, that prandium was a meal which the 
ancients rarely took; his very words are — “ raro prande- 
hant veteresy Now, judge for yourself of the good sense 
which is shown in Itranslating by the word dinner, which 
must of necessity mean the chief meal, a Homan word 
^which represents a fancy meal, a meal of caprice, a meal 
which few people took. At this moment, what is the 



single point of agreement between tlie noon meal of the 
English labourer and the evening meal of the English 
gentleman? What is the single circumstance common to 
both, which causes us to denominate them by the common 
name of dinner? It is, that in both we recognise the jjm- 
cipal meal of the day, the meaUupon which is thrown the 
onus of the day’s support. In everything else they are as 
wide asunder as the poles; but tliey agree in this one point 
of their function. Is it credible now, that, to represent 
such a meal amongst ourselves, we select a Boman word 
so notoriously expressing a mere shadow, a pure apology, 
that very few people ever tasted it — nobody sat down to 
it — not many washed their hands after it, and gradually 
the very name of it became interchangeable with another 
name, implying the slightest possible act of tentative tast- 
ing or sipping? ^^Post lavationm sine mensd prandium'' 
says Seneca, quod non sunt lavanda: manus;'* that is, 
after bathing, I take a prandium \yithout sitting down to 
table, and such a prandium as brings after itself no need of 
washing the hands.” No; moonshing as little soils the 
hands as it oppresses the stomach. 

Reader I I, as well as Pliny, had an uncle, an East In- 
dian uncle; doubtless ^ou have such an uncle; everybody 
has an Indian uncle. Generally such a person is ** rather 
yellow, rather yellow” (to quote Canning versus Lord Dur- 
ham), that is the chief fault with his physics; but, as to 
his morals, he is universally a man o£ princely aspirations 
and habits. He is not always so orientally rich as he is 
reputed; but he is always orientally munificent. Call upon 
him at any hour from two to five, he insists on your taking 
tiffin: and such a tiffin! The English corresponding term 
is luncheon; but how meagre a shadow is the European 
meal to its glowing Asiatic cousin! Still, gloriously as 



tiffin shines^ does anybody imagine that it is a vicarious 
dinner, or ever meant to be the substitute and locum tenena 
of dinner? Wait till eight, and you will have your eyes 
opened on that subject. So of the Eoman prandium: had 
it been as luxurious as it was simple, still it was always 
viewed as something meant only to stay the stomach, as a 
prologue to something beyond. The prandHum was far 
enough from giving the -feeblest idea even of the English 
luncheon; yet it stood in the same relation to the Homan 
day. Now to Englishmen that meal scarcely exists; and 
were it not for women, whose delicacy of organisation does 
not allow them to fast so long as men, would probably be 
'abolished. It is singular in this, as jn other points, how 
nearly England and ancient Rome approximate. We 
all know how hard it is to tempt a >nan generally into 
spoiling his appetite, by eating before dinner. The same 
dislike of violating what they called the integrity of the 
, appetite (inlegram famem) existed at feomc. Integer means 
what is intactf unviolated by touch. Cicero, wher^ protest- 
ing against spoiling his appetite for dinner*, by tasting any- 
thing beforehand, says, integram famem ad coenam afferam: 
I intend bringing to dinner an appetite untampered with. 
Nay, so much stress did the Romans lay on maintaining 
this primitive state of the appetite undisturbed, that any 
prelusions with eiihex jentaculum or prandium were said, by 
a very strong phrase indeed, polluere famem — to pollute the 
sanctity of the apposite. The appetite was regarded as a 
holy vestal flame, soaring upwards towards dinner through- 
out the day: if undebauched, it tended to its natural con- 
sumihation in ccena: expiring like a phoenix, to rise again 
on# of its own ashes. On this theory, to which language 
had accommodated itself, the two prelusive meals of nine or 
ten o’clock a.m., and of one p m , so far from being ratified 



by the public sense, and adopted into the economy of the 
day, were regarded gloomily as gross irregularities, enormi- 
ties, debauchers of the natural instinct; and, in so far as they 
thwarted that instinct, lessened it, or depraved it, were al- 
most uniformly held to be full of pollution; and, finally, to 
profane a sacred motion of natui*e. Such was the language. 

But we guess what is passing in the reader’s mind. He 
thinks’that all this proves the prandium to have been a meal 
of little account; and in very many cases absolutely un- 
known. But still he thinks all this might happen to the 
English dinner — that also might be neglected: supper 
might be generally preferred; and, nevertheless, dinner 
would be as truly entitled to the name of dinner as before. 
Many a student neglects his dinner; enthusiasm in any 
pursuit must often have extinguished appetite for all of us. 
Many a time and oft did this happen to Sir Isaac Newton. 
Evidence is on record, that such a deponent at eight 
o’clock A.M. found Sl5r Isaac with one stocking on, one 
off; at two, said deponent called him to dinner. Being 
interrogated whether Sir Isaac had pulled on the minus 
stocking, or gartered fhe plus stocking, witness replied 
that he had not. Being asked if Sir Isaac came to dinner, 
replied that he did not. Being again asked, “At sunset, 
did you look in on Sir Isaac?” \\itnes8 rejdied, “I did.” 
“And now, upon your conscience, sir, by the virtue of your 
oath, in what state were the stockings?” Ans . — “/» statu 
quo ante helium^ It seems Sir Isaac had fought through 
that whole battle of a long day, so trying a campaign to 
many people — he had traversed that whole sandy Zaarah, 
without calling, or needing to call, at one of those foun- 
tains, stages, or mansioneSy* by which (according to our 

* Mandones :” — The halts of the Eoman legions, the stationary 
places of lepose ■^hich divided the marchc*?, were bo called. 



former explanation) Providence lias relieved the con- 
tinuity of arid soil, which else disfigures that long dreary 
level. This happens to all; but was dinner not. dinner, 
and did supper become dinner, because Sir Isaac Newton 
ate nothing at the first, and threw the whole day’s 
support upon the laef? No, you will say, a rule is not 
defeated by one casual deviation, nor by one person’s 
constant deviation. Everybody else was still dining at 
two, though Sir Isaac might not; and Sir Isaac himself on 
most days no more deferred his dinner beyond two, than 
he sat in public with one stocking off. But what if every- 
body, Sir Isaac included, had deferred his substantial meal 
until night, and taken a slight refection only at two 1 The 
question put does reaUy represent the very case which has 
happened with us in England. In 1700, a large part of 
London took a meal at two p.m., and another at seven or 
eight P,M. At present, a large part of London is still doing 
the very same thing, taking one raeafat two, and another at 
seven or eight. But the names are entirely changed; the 
two o’clock meal used to be called dinner^ whereas at 
present it is called luncheon; the seven o’clock meal used 
to be called supper, whereas at present it is called dinner; 
and in both cases the difference is anything but verbal: it 
expresses a translation of that main meal, on which the 
dav’s support rested, from mid-day to evening. 

Upon reviewing the idea of dinner, we soon perceive 
that time has little or no connection with it: since, both in 
England and France, dinner has travelled, like the hand 
of a clock, through every hour between ten a.m. and ten 
We have a list, well attested, of every successive 
h^nr between these limits having been the known esta- 
Wished hour for the royal dinner-table within the last three 
hundred and fifty years. Time, therefore, vanishes from 



the problem; it is a quantity regularly exterminated. 
The true elements of the idea are evidently these: — 1. 
That dinner is that meal, no matter when taken, which is 
the principal meal; i. e., the meal on which the day’s sup> 
port is thrown. 2. That it is therefore the meal of hospi- 
tality. 3. That it is the meal (with reference to both Nos. 
1 and 2) in which animal food predominates. 4. That it 
is that meal which, upon a necessity arising for the aboli- 
tion of all hut one, would natiJfally offer itself as that one. 
Apply these four tests to praridium: — How could that meal 
prandium answer to the first test, as the dafs support^ which 
few people touched? How could that meal prai^dium 
answer to the second test, as the meal of hospitality, at 
which nobody sat down 1 How could that meal prandium 
answer to the third test, as the meal of animal food, which 
consisted exclusively and notoriously of bread ? Or answer 
to the fourth test, as the privileged meal entitled to survive 
the dbolition of the rest, which was itself abolished at all 
times in practice ? 

Tried, therefore, by every test, prandium vanishes. But 
I have something further to communicate about this same 
prandium, • 

1. It came to pass, by a very natural association of feel- 
ing, that prandium and jentaculum, in' the latter centuries 
of Rome, were generally confounded. This result was in- 
evitable. Both professed the same basis. Both caraq in 
the morning. Both were fictions. Hence they melted 
and collapsed into each other. 

The fact speaks for itself-— the modern breakfast and 
luncheon never could have been confounded; but who 
would be at the pains of distinguishing two shadows ? In 
a gambling-house of that class, where you are at liberty 
to sit down to a splendid banquet, anxiety probably pre- 



vents your sitting down at all; but, if you do, the same 
cause prevents you noticing what you eat. So of the two 
pseudo meals of Home, they came in the very midst of the 
Roman business — viz., from nine a.m. to two p.m. No- 
body could give his miud to them, had they been of better 
quality. There lay one cause of their vagueness — viz., in 
their position. Another cause was, the common basis of 
both. Bread was so notoriously the predominating “ fea- 
ture” in each of these pftlusive banquets, that all fo- 
reigners at Rome, who communicated with Romans through 
the Greek language, knew both the one and the other by 
the name of a^rodtTog^ or the bread repdsU Originally, this 
name had been restricted to the earlier meal. But a dis- 
tinction without a difference could not sustain itself; and 
both alike disguised their emptiness under this pompous 
quadrisyllable. All words are suspicious, there is an 
odour of fraud about them, which — being concerned with 
common things — are so base as to stretch out to four 
syllables. What does an honest word want with more 
than two ? In the identity of substance, therefore, lay a 
second ground of confusion. And then, thirdly, even as 
to the. time, which had ever been the sole real distinction, 
there arose from accident a tendency to converge. For it 
happened that, while some \xsid jentacuhm but no prandium, 
others had prandium but no jentaculum ; a third party had 
boUi; a fourth party, by much the largest, had neither. 
Out of which four varieties (who would think that a 
nonentity could cut up into so many somethings ?) arose a 
fifth party of compromisers, who, because they could not 
afib%l a regular ccena, and yet were hospitably disposed, 
Ibsed the two ideas into one; and so, because the usual 
time for the idea of a breakfast was nine to ten, and for 
the idea of a luncheon twelve to one, compromised the rival 


pretensions "bj what diplomatists call a mezzo iermine; 
bisecting the time at eleven, and melting the two ideas 
into one. But, by thus merging the separate times of 
each, they abolished the sole real difference that had ever 
divided them. Losing that, they lost all. 

Perhaps, as two negatives make one .affirmative, it may 
be thought that two layers of moonshine might coalesce 
into one pancake; and two Barmecide banquets might be 
the square root of one poacheS egg. Of that the company 
were the best judges. But, probably, as a rump and dozen, 
in our land of wagers, is construed with a very liberal 
latitude as to the materials, so MartiaFs invitation, ''to 
take bread with him at eleven,” might be understood by 
the cvviTot (the knowing ones) .as significant of something 
better than a^roatrogn Otherwise, in good truth, "moon- 
shine and turn-out ” at eleven a.m. would be even worse 
than " tea and turn-out ” at eight P.M., which the " fervida 
juventus ” of Young England so loudly deprecates. But, 
however that might be, in this convergement of the se- 
veral frontiers, and the confusion that ensued, one cannot 
wonder that, whilst the two bladders collapsed into one 
idea, they actually expanded into four namc^^two Latin 
and two Greek, gustus and gusiaiio, yiv(iig and yguojaa — 
which all alike express the merely tentative or exploratory 
act of a prcegustator or professional " taster ” in a king’s 
household; what, if applied to a fluid, we should denomi- 
nate sipping. 

At last, by so many steps all in one direction, things had 
come to such a pass — the two prelusive aneals of the Homan 
morning, each for itself separately vague from the begin- 
ning, had so communicated and interfused their several 
and joint vaguenesses, that at last no man knew or cared 
to know what any other man included in his idea of 

M — 111. # 


either; how niucli or how little. And you. might as well 
have hunted in the woods of Ethiopia for Prester John, or 
fixed the parish of the Everlasting Jew,* as have attempted 
to say what ‘‘ jentaculum” certainly was, or what '‘pran- 
diuin” certainly Avas not Only one* thing was clear, that 
neither was anything that people cared for. They were 
both empty shadows; but shadows as they were, we find 
from Cicero that they had a gower of polluting and profan- 
ing better things than themselves. 

We presume that no rational man will henceforth l^ook 
for “ dinner” — that great idea according to Dr Johnson — 
tliat sacred idea according to Ciocro — in a bag of moon- 
shine on one side, or a bag of pollution on the other. 
Frandium, so far from being what our foolish dictionaries 
pretend — dinner itself — never in its palmiest days* was 
more or other than a miserable attempt at being luncheon. 
It was a conatuSf what physiologists call a nisiis, a struggle 
in a very ambitious spark, or scintillaj to kindle into a fire. 
This nisus Avent on for some centuries; but finally eva- 
porated in smoke. If 'prandium had Avorked out its ambi- 
tion, had “ the great stream of tendency” accomplished all 
its purposes, prandium never could have been more than a 
very indiflerent luncheon. .But now, 

2. I have to offer another fact, ruinous to our diction- 
aries on another ground. Various circumstances have dis- 
guised the truth, but a truth it is, that "prandium,” in its 
very origin and incunahida, never was a meal known to the 
Homan culina. In that court it was never recognised ex- 

* ** The EverlixaVmxj Jew :'* — The German name for wliat we English 
call the Wandering J ew. The German imagination has been most struck 
by the duration of the man’s life, and his unhappy sanctity from death: 

the English, by the unrestingness of the man’s life, his incapacity of 


ccpt as an alien. It had no original domicile in the 
city of Home. It was a vox castrensis, a word and an 
idea purely martial, and pointing to martial flfeccssities. 
Amongst the new ideas proclaimed to the recruit, this was 
one — ‘‘Look for no ^ccena^ no regular dinner, with us. 
Resign these uhwarlike notions. It is true that even war 
has its respites; in these it would be possible to have our 
Roman ccena with all its equipage of ministrations. But 
luxury untunes the mind for doing and suffering. Let 
us voluntarily renounce it; that, when a necessity of re- 
nouncing it arrives, we may not feel it among the hard- 
ships of war. From *the day when you enter the gates of 
the camp, reconcile yourself, tiro, to a new fashion of meal, 
to what in camp dialect we call •prandium^'* This “ pran- 
dium,” this essentially military meal, was taken standing, 
by way of symbolising the necessity of being always ready 
for the enemy. Hence the posture in which it was taken 
at Rome, the very counter-pole to the luxurious posture 
of dinner. A writer of the third century, a period from 
which the Romans naturally looked back upon everything 
connected with their own early habits, with nauch the same 
kind of interest as we extend to our Alfred (separated 
from us, as Romulus from them, by just a thousand years), 
in s{)eaking oiprandim\ says, “Quod dictum cst parandhmy 
ab eo quod nailites ad bellum Isidorus again says, 

* “ Proprie apud vetercs prandium vocatum fuisse omnem 
militum cibum ante pugnam:” i.e., “ that, properly speak- 
ing, amongst our ancestors every military meal laken be- 
fore battle was termed According to Isidore, 

the proposition is reciprocating; viz., {hat, as every prm- 
dium was a military meal, so every military meal was 
called prandium. But, in fact, the reason of that is ap- 
parent. Whether in the camp or the city, the early 


Eomans had probably but one meal in a day. That is 
true of many a man amongst ourselves by choice; it is 
true also,% our knowledge, of some horse regiments in 
our service, and may be of all. This meal was called ccena, 
or dinner in the city — -prandium in camps. In the city, it 
would always be tending to one fixed hour. * In the camp, 
innumerable accidents of war would make it very uncer- 
tain. On this account it would be an established rule to 
celebrate the daily meal at noon, if nothing hindered; not 
that a later hour would not have been preferred, had the 
choice been free; but it was better to have a certainty at 
a bad hour, than by waiting for a better hour to make it 
an uncertainty. For it was a camp proverb — Pransud, 
paratua; armed with this daily meal, the soldier is ready for 
service. It was not, however, that all meals, as Isidore 
imagined, Avere indiscriminately called prandium; but that 
the one sole meal of the day, by accidents of war, might, 
and did, revolve through all hours of the day. 

The first introduction of this military meal into Home 
itself would be through the honourable pedantry of old 
centurions, &c., delighting (like the Commodore Trunnions 
of our navy) to keep up in peaceful life some image or 
memorial of their past experience, so wild, so full of peril, 
excitement, and romance, as Boman warfare must have 
been in those ages. Many non-military people for health’s 
sake, many as an excuse for eating early, many by way of 
interposing some refreshment between the stages of forensic 
business, would adopt this hurried and informal meal. 
Mimy would wish tp see their sons adopting such a meal, 
as a training for foreign service in particular, and for 
temperance in general. It would also be maintained by a 
solemn and very interesting commemoration of this camp 
repast in Borne. 


This commemoration, because it ha|^been greatly mis- 
understood by Salmasius (whose error arose from not 
marking the true point of a particular antithesis), and still 
more, because it is a distinct confirmation of all I have 
said as to the military nature of prandtum, I shall detach 
from the series of my illustrations, by placing it in a sepa- 
rate paragraph. 

On a set day the officers of the army were invited by 
Csesar to a banquet; it was a circumstance expressly no- 
ticed in the invitation, that the banquet was not a " ccena,” 
but a “ prandium.” What did that imply? Why, that all 
the guests must present themselves in full military accou- 
trement; whereas, observes the historian, had it been a ccena^ 
the officers would. have unbelted their swords; for he adds, 
even in Ca3sar’s presence the officers are allowed to lay aside 
their swords. The word prandiuniy in short, converted the 
palace into the imperial tent; and Coesar was no longer a 
civil emperor and princeps senairis, but became a com- 
mander-in-chief amongst a council of hi* ataff, all belted 
and plumed, and in full military fig. 

On this principle we come to understand why it is, that, 
whenever the Latin poets speak of an army as taking food, 
the word used is always prandena, and pransus; and, when 
the word used is prandens, then always it is an army that 
is concerned. Thus Juvenal in a well-known passage: — 

** CredimuB altos 

Desiccasse amnes, epotaque flumina, Medo 
Prandente ” — 

that rivers were drunk up, when the •Mede [e.c., the Me- 
dian army under Xerxes] took his daily meal; prandente, 
observe, not canante: you might as well talk of an army 
taking tea and buttered toast, as taking ccena, Nor is that 
word ever applied to armies. It is true that the converse 



is not so rigorously observed; nor ought it, from the. expla- 
nations already given. Though no soldier dined (coenahat), 
yet the citizen sometimes adopted the camp usage, and took 
a prandium. But generally the poets use^ihe word merely 
to mark the time of day. In that most humorous appeal 
of Perseus, “Cur quis non prandeat, hoc est?” — is this a 
sufficient reason for losing one’s prandium f — ho was obliged 
to BQ,y prandium, because no exhibitions ever could cause a 
man to lose his cesna, since none were displayed at a time 
of day when nobody in Eome would have attended. Just 
as, in alluding to a parliamentary speech notoriously deli- 
vered at midnight, an English satirist might have said. Is 
this a speech to furnish an argument for leaving one’s bed? 
— not as what stood foremost in his regard, but as the only 
thing that could be lost at that time of night. 

Qn this principle also — ^viz., by going back to the mili- 
tary origin of prandium — we gain the interpretation of all 
the peculiarities attached to it; viz. — 1. its early hour; 2. 
its being taken in a standing posture; 3. in the open air; 
4. the humble quality of its materials — bijad and biscuit (the 
main articles of military fare). In all these circumstances 
of the meal, we read, most legibly written, the exotic (or 
non-civic) character of the meal, and its martial character. 

Thus I have brought down our Homan friend to noon- 
day, or even one hour later than noon, and to this moment 
the poor man has had nothing to eat. For supposing him 
to be not impransus, and supposing him beside; yet 

it is evident (I hope) that neither one nor the other 
means more than what it was ofter called — viz., 

f in plain English, a mouthful. How long do we intend 
keep him waiting? Reader, he will dine at three, or 
(supposing dinner put off to the latest) at four. Dinner 
was never known to be later than the tenth hour at Rome, 


which in summer would be past five; but for a far greater 
proportion of days would be near fouftn Kome. And so 
entirely was a Eoman the creature of ceremonial usage, that 
a national mourning ‘would probably have been celebrated, 
and the “sad augurs” would have been called in to expiate 
the prodigy, had the general dinner lingered beyond four. 

But, meantime, what has our friend been about since 
perhaps six or seven in the morning? After paying his 
little homage to his patronus^ in what way has he fought 
with the great enemy Time since then? Why, reader, tliis 
illustrates one of the most interesting features in the 
Roman character. The Eoman was the idlest of men. 
“ Man and boy,” he was “ an idler in the land.” He called 
himself and his pals, rerum dominos, gentcmque togatam” 
— *Uhe gentry that wore the toga*' Yes, a pretty set of gentry 
they were, and a pretty affair that “toga” was. Just 
figure to yourself, reader, the picture of a hard-working 
man, with horny hands, like our hedgers, ditchers, porters, 
&c., setting to work on the high-road in that vast sweep- 
ing toga, filling with a strong gale like the mainsail of a 
frigate. Conceive the soars with which this magnificent 
figure would be received into the bosom of a modern poor- 
house detachment sent out to attack the stones on some 
line of road, or a fatigue -party of dustmen sent upon secret 
service. Had there been nothing left as a memorial of the 
Romans but that one relic — their immeasurable toga* — I 
should have known that they were born and bred to idle- 
ness. In fact, except in war, the Eoman never did any- 

* ** ImmeasuraJble toga :'* — It is very true that in the time of Augustus 
the toga had disappeared amongst the lowest plcbs, and greatly Augustus 
was shocked at that spectacle. It is a very curious fact in itself, espe- 
. daily as expounding the main cause of the civil wars. Mere poverty, and 
the absence of bribery from Rome, whilst all popular competition for 
offices drooped, can alone explain this remarxable revolution of dress. 


thing at all but sun himself. TJt se apricaret was the final 
cause of peace in li® opinion; in literal truth, that he might 
make an apncotoi himself. The public rations at all times 
supported the poorest inhabitant of Kome, if he were a 
citizen. Hence it was that Hadrian was so astonished 
with the spectacle of Alexandria, civita^ opulenta, foecunda, 
in qud nemo vivat otiosiis,^* Here first he saw the spectacle 
of a vast city, second only to Rome, where every man had 
something to do; ^^podagrosi quod agant liahent; hahent 
coed quod faciant; ne ehiragrict" (those with gout in the 
fingers) ‘^apud eos otiosi vivunt^^ No poor rates levied 
upon the rest of the world for the benefit of their own 
paupers were there distributed gratis. The prodigious 
spectacle (such it seemed to Hadrian) was exhibited in 
Alexandria, of all men earning their bread in the sweat 
of their brow. In Rome only (and at one time in some of 
the Grecian states), it was the very meaning of citizen that 
he should vote and be idle. Precisely those were the two 
things which the Roman, the foex Bomuli, had to do — viz., 
sometimes to vote, and always to be idle. 

In these circumstances, where* the whole sun of life’s 
duties amounted to voting, all the business a man could 
have was to attend the public assemblies, electioneering or 
factious. These, and any judicial trial (public or private) 
that might happen to interest him for the persons con< 
cerned, or for the questions at stake, amused him through 
the morning; that is, from eight till one. He might also 
extract some diversion from the columnas, or pillars of cer- 
tain porticoes to wliicji they pasted advertisements. These 
affiches must have been numerous; for all the girls in Rome 
who lost a trinket, or a pet bird, or a lap-dog, took this 
mode of angling in the great ocean of the public for the 
missing articles. 



But all this time I take for granted that there were no 
shows in a course of exhibition, either the dreadful ones 
of the amphitheatre, or the bloodless ones of the circus. 
If there were, then that became the business of all Eomans; 
and it was a business which would have occupied him from 
daylight until the light began to fail. Here we see an- 
other effect from the scarcity of artificial light amongst 
the ancients. These magnificent shows went on by day- 
light. But how incomparably more gorgeous would have 
beeo the splendour by lamp-light ! What a gigantic con- 
ception I Two hundred and fifty thousand human faces all 
revealed under one blaze of lamp-light I Lord Bacon saw 
the migBty advantage of candle-light for the pomps and 
glories of this world. But the poverty of the earth was 
the original cause that the Pagan shows proceeded by day. 
Not that the masters of the world, who rained Arabian 
odours and perfumed waters of the most costly description 
from a thousand fountains, simply to cool the summer 
heats, would, in the latter centuries of Eoman civilisation, 
have regarded the expense of light, cedar and other 
odorous woods burning^upon vast altars, together with 
every variety of fragrant torch, would have created light 
enough to shed a new day stretching over to the distant 
Adriatic. But precedents derived from early ages of 
poverty, ancient traditions, overruled the practical usage. 

However, as there may happen to be no public spec- 
tacles, and the courts of political meetings (if not closed 
altogether by superstition) would at any rate be closed in 
the ordinary course by twelve or one^o’clock, nothing re- 
mains for him to do, before returning home, except per- 
haps to attend the jpalceatraj or some public recitation of a 
poem written by a friend, but in any case to attend the 
public baths. For these the time varied ; and many people 



iiave thought it tyrannical m some of the Caesars that they 
imposed restraints on the time open for the baths; some, 
for instance, would not suffer them to open at all before 
two; and m any case, if you were later than four or five in 
summer, you would have to pay a fine which most effec- 
tually cleaned out the baths of all raff, since it was a sum 
that John Quires could not have produced to save his life. 
But it should be considered that the emperor was the 
steward of the public resources for maintaining the baths 
in fuel, oil, attendance, repairs. And certain it is, that 
during the long peace of the first Caesars, and after the 
annonaria provisio (that great pledge of popularity to a 
Koman prince) had been increased by the corn tribute 
from the Nile, the Eoman population took a vast expan- 
sion ahead. The subsequent increase of baths, whilst no 
old ones were neglected, proves that decisively. And as 
citizenship expanded by means* of the easy terms on which 
it could bo had, so did the bathers multiply. The popula- 
tion of Rome, in the century after Augustus, was far greater 
than during that era; and this, still acting as a vortex to 
the rest of the world, may hav% been one great motive 
with Constantine for translating the capital eastwards; 
in reality, for breaking up one monster capital into. two of 
more manageable dimensions. Two o’clock was sometimes 
the earliest hour at which the public baths were opened. 
But in Martial’s time a man could go without blushing 
(salvd fronte) at eleven; though even then two o’clock was 
the meridian hour for the great uproar of splashing, and 
S^j^famming, and “lafking” in the endless baths of endless 

“ And now, at last, bathing finished, and the exercises of 
the palaestra, at half-past two, or three, our friend finds 
his way home — not again to leave it for that day. He is 



now a new man; refreshed, oiled with perfumes, his dust 
washed off by hot water, and ready Jbr enjoyment. These 
were the things that determined the time for dinner. Had 
there been no other proof that ccena was the Homan dinner, 
this is an ample one. ISTow first the Roman was fit for 
dinner, in a condition of luxurious ease; business over — 
that day’s load of anxiety laid aside — his cuticle^ as he de- 
lighted to talk, cleansed and polished — nothing more to 
do or to think of until the next morning: he might now 
go and dine, and get drunk with a safe conscience. Be- 
sides, if he docs not get dinner now, when will he get it? 
For most demonstrably he has taken nothing yet which 
comes near in value to that basin of soup which many of 
ourselves take at the Roman hour of bathing. No; wo 
have kept our man fasting as yet. It is to be hoped that 
something is coming at last. 

Yes, something is coming; dinner is coming, the great 
meal of ‘‘ cosnaf the meal sacred to hospitality and genial 
pleasure comes now to fill up the rest of the day, until 
light fails altogether. 

Many people are of opinion that the Romans only un- 
derstood what the capabilities of dinner were. It is cer- 
tain that they were the first great people that discovered 
the true secret and meaning of dinner, the great office 
which it fulfils, and which we in England are now so gene- 
rally acting on. Barbarous nations — and none were, in 
that respect, more barbarous than our own ancestors — 
made this capital blunder: the brutes, if you asked them 
what was the use of dinner, what it was meant for, stared 
at you, and replied — as a horse would reply, if you put 
the same question about his provender— that it was to give 
liim strength for finishing his work! Therefore, if you 
point your telescope back to antiquity about twelve or one 



o*clock of the daytime, you will descry our most worthy 
ancestors all eating fjr their very lives, eating as doge 
eat — viz., in bodily fear that some other dog will come 
and take their dinner away. What swelling of the veins 
in the temples (see Boswell’s natural history of Dr John- 
son at dinner)! what intense and rapid deglutition! what 
odious clatter of knives and plates! what silence of the 
human voice! what gravity! what fury in the libidinous 
eyes with which they co-ntemplate the dishes! Positively 
it was an indecent spectacle to see Dr Johnson at dinner. 
But, above all, what maniacal haste and hurry, as if the 
fiend were waiting with red-het pincers to lay hold of the 

Oh, reader, do you recognise in this abominable pieture 
your respected ancestors and ours? Excuse me for say- 
ing, ‘‘What monsters!” I have a right to call my own 
ancestors monsters; and, if so, I must have the same right 
over yours. For Southey has shown plainly in the “ Doc- 
tor,” that every man having four grand-parents in the 
second stage of ascent, consequently (since each of those 
four will have had four grand-parents) sixteen in the third 
stage, consequently sixty-four in the fourth, consequently 
two hundred and fifty-six in the fifth, and so on, it follows 
that, long before you get to the Conquest, every man and 
woman then living in England will be wanted to make up 
the sum of my separate ancestors; consequently you must 
take your ancestors out of the very same fund, or (if you 
are too proud for that) you must go without ancestors. 
So, that, your ancestors being clearly mine, I have a right 
itt law to call the whole “ kit ” of laem monsters. Quod 
irut demonstrandum. Eeally, and upon my honour, it makes 
one, for the moment, ashamed of one’s descent; one woiifd 
wish to disinherit one’s-sclf backwards, and (as Sheridan 


says in the ** Eivals ”) to " cut the connection.” Words- 
worth has an admirable picture in “ Peter Bell ” of a snug 
party in a parlour ” remoyed into timbus patrum for their 
offences in the flesh: — 

“ Cramming, as they on earth were cramm’d; 

All sipping wine, all sipping tea; 

• But, as you by their faces see, 

All silent, and all d d.** 

How well docs that one word silent describe those vene- 
rable ancestral dinners — ‘'All silent!” Contrast this in- 
fernal silence of voice, and fury of eye, with th*e "rwMS 
amahilis," the festivity, the social kindness, the music, the 
wine, the “ dulcis insania,'* of a Roman " coena,'* I men- 
tioned four tests for determining what meal is, and what 
is not, dinner: we may now add a fifth — ^viz., the spirit of 
festal joy and elegant enjoyment, of anxiety laid aside, 
and of honourable social pleasure put on like a marriage 

And what caused the difference between our ancestors 
and the Romans? Simply this — the error of interposing 
dinner in the middle of business, thus courting all the 
breezes of angry feeling that may happen to blow from 
the business yet to come, instead of finishing, absolutely 
closing, the account with this world’s troubles before you 
sit down. That unhappy interpolation ruined all. Dinner 
was an ugly little parenthesis between two still uglier 
clauses of a teetotally ugly sentence. Whereas, with us, 
their enlightened posterity, to whom they have the honour 
to be ancestors, dinner is a great re-aption. There lies my 
conception of the matter. It grew out of the very excess 
of the evil. When business was moderate, dinner was 
allowed to divide and bisect it. When it swelled into that 
vast strife and agony, as one may call it, that boils along 



the tortured streets of modern London or other capitals, 
men began to see the necessity of an adequate counter- 
force to push against fliis overwhelming torrent, and thus 
maintain the equilibrium. Were it not for the soft relief 
of a six o’clock dinner, the gentle demeanour succeeding 
to the boisterous hubbub of the day, the soft glowing lights, 
the wine, the intellectual conversation, life in London is 
now come to such a' pass, that in two years all nerves would 
sink before it. But for this periodic re-action, the modern, 
business which draws so cruelly on the brain, and so little 
on the h&nds, would overthrow that organ in all but those 
of coarse organisation. Dinner it is — meaning by dinner 
the whole complexity of attendant eircumstances — which 
saves the modern brain-working man from going mad. 

This revolution as to dinner was the greatest in virtue 
and value ever accomplished. In fact, those arc always 
the most operative revolutions which are brought about 
through social or domestic changes. A nation must be 
barbarous, neither could it have much intellectual busi- 
ness, which dined in the morning. They could not be at 
case in the morning. So much must be granted: every 
day has its separate quantum, its dose of anxiety, that could 
not be digested so soon as noon. No man will say it. 
He, therefore, wlio dined at noon, showed himself willing 
to sit down squalid as he was, with his dress unchanged, 
his cares not washed off. And what follows from that % 
Why, that to him, to such a canine or cynical specimen of 
the genus homo, dinner existed only as a physical event, a 
mere animal relief, purely carnal enjoyment. For in 
wh^tg 1 demand, did this fleshly creature difier from the 
caT|j^ crow, or the kite, or the vulture, or the cormorants 
A French judge, in an action ui^on a*wager, laid it .down 
as law, that man only had a louche^ all other animals a 


gueule: only with regard to the horse, in consideration of 
his beauty, nobility, use, and in honour of the respect with 
which man regarded him, by the courtesy of Christendom, 
ho might be allowed to have a houche, and his reproach 
of brutality, if not taken away, might thus be hidden. 
But surely, of the rabid animal who is caught dining 
at noonday, the homo ferm^ who affronts the meridian 
sun like Thyestes and Atreus, by his inhuman meals, we 
are,* by parity of reason, entitled to say, that he has a 
“ maw ” (so has Milton’s Death), but nothing resembling a 
stomach. And to this vile man a philosopher would say — 
“ Go away, sir, and come back to me two or three cen- 
turies hence, when you have learned to be a reasonable 
creature, and to make that idiysico-intellcctual thing out 
of dinner which it was meant to be, and is capable of be- 
coming.” In Henry VII.’s time the court dined at eleven 
in the forenoon. But even that hour was considered so 
shockingly late in the French Court, that Louis XII. ac- 
tually had his grey hairs brought down with sorrow to the 
grave, by changing his regular hour of half-past nine for 
eleven, in gallantry to his young English bride.* He fell 
a victim to late hours in the forenoon. In Cromwell’s 
time they dined at one p.m. One century and a-half had 
carried them on by two hours. Doubtless, old cooks and 

* “Z/is yovmrj EngMi hndcr — The case of an old man, or one re- 
puted old, marrying a very girlish wife, is always too much for the 
gravity of history; and, rather than lose the joke, the historian pru- 
dently disguises the age, which, after all, in this case was not above 
fifty-four. And the very persons who insist on the late dinner as the 
proximate cause of death, elsewhere insinuate ftomeihing more plausible, 
but not so decorously expressed. It is odd that this amiable prince, so 
memorable as having been a martyr to late dining at eleven a.m., was 
the same person who is so equally memorable for the noble, almost the 
sublime, answer about a King of Franco not rcmcmbeiiug the wrongs of 
a Duke of Orleans. 



scullions wondered what the wojld would come to next. 
Our French neighbours were in the same predicament. But 
they far surpassed us in veneration for the meal. They ac- 
tually dated from it. Dinner constituted the great era of 
the day. Z'apres dim^r is almost the solo date which you 
find in Cardinal De Betz's memoirs of the Fronde* Dinner 
was their Hegira — dinner was their line in traversing the 
ocean of day: they crossed the equator when they dined. 
Our English Eevolution came next; it made some little 
difference, I have heard people say, in church and slate; 
I daresay it did, like enough, but its great effects were 
perceived in dinner. People now dined at two. So dined 
Addison for his last thirty years ; so, through his entire 
life, dined Pope, whose birth was coeval with the Revolution. 
Precisely as the Rebellion of 1745 arose, did people (but 
observe, very great people) advance to four p.m. Philoso- 
phers, who watch the semina rerum," and the first symp- 
toms of change, had perceived this alteration singing in 
the upper air like a coming storm some little time before. 
About the year 1740, Pope complains of Lady Suffolk's 
dining so late as four. Young people may bear those 
things, he observed : but as to himself, now turned of fifty, 
if such doings went on, if Lady Suffolk would adopt such 
strange hours, he must really absent himself from Marble 
Hill. Lady Suffolk had a right to please herself ; he him- 
self loved her. But, if she would persist, all which re- 
mained for a decayed poet was respectfully to cut his stick, 
and retire. Whether Pope ever put up with four o'clock 
din|^rB again, I he^ve vainly sourht to fathom. Some 
tMpi advance continuously, like a flood or a fire, which 
alweys make an end of A, eat and digest it, before they go 
to B, Other things advance per saltum — they do not 
silently cancer their way onwards, hut lie as still as a snake 



after they have made some notable conquest, then, when 
unobserved, they make themselves up " for mischief,” and 
take a flying bound onwards. Thus advanced dinner, 
and by these fits got into the territory of evening. And 
ever as it made a motion onwards, it found the nation more 
civilised (else the change could not have been effected), and 
* co-operated in raising them to a still higher civilisation. 
The next relay on that line of road, the next repeating 
frigate, is Cowper in his poem on “ Conversation.” He speaks 
of four o’clock as still the elegant hour for dinner — the 
hour for the lautiorea and the lepidi homines. Now this 
might be written about 1780, or a little earlier; perhaps, 
therefore, just one generation after Pope’s Lady Suffolk. 
But then Cowper was living amongst the rural gentry, not 
in high life; yet, again, Cowper was nearly connected by 
blood with the eminent Whig house of Cowper, and acknow- 
ledged as a kinsman. About twenty-five years after this, 
we may take Oxford as a good exponent of the national 
advance. As a magnificent body of “ foundations,” en- 
dowed by kings, nursed by queens, and resorted to by the 
flower of the national youth, Oxford ought to be elegant 
and even splendid in her habits. Yet, on the other hand, 
as a grave seat of learning, and feeling the weight of her 
position in the eommonwealth, she is slow to move: she is 
inert as she should be, having the funetions of resistance 
assigned to her against the popular instinct (surely active 
enough) of movement. Now, in Oxford, about 1 804-5, there 
was a general move in the dinner hour. Those colleges who 
dined at three, of which there were still several, now beg^ 
to dine at four: those who had dined at iour, now translated 
their hour to five. These continued good general hours 
till about Waterloo. After that era, six, which had been 
somewhat of a gala hour, was promoted tq the fined station 

M 2 



of dinner-time in ordinary; and there perhaps it will rest 
through centuries. For a more festal dinner, seven, eight, 
nine, ten, have all been in requisition since then; but I am 
not aware of any man’s habitually dining later than ten p.m., 
except in that classical case recorded by Mr Joseph Miller, 
of an Irishman who must have dined much later than ten, 
because his servant protested, when others were enforcing* 
the dignity of their masters by the lateness of their dinner 
hours, that Ats master invariably dined “ to-morrow.” 

Were the Romans not as barbarous as our own ances- 
tors at one time? Most certainly they were; in their pri- 
mitive ages they took their coma at noon,* t/iat was before 
they had laid aside their barbarism; before they shaved: 
it was during their barbarism, and in consequence of their 
barbarism, that they timed their coma thus unseasonably. 
And this is made evident by the fact, that, so long as they 
erred in the hour, they erred in the attending circum- 
stances. At this period they had no music at dinner, no 
festal graces, and no reposing upon sofas. They sat bolt 
upright in chairs, and were as grave as our ancestors, as 

* ** Took their coma at noon:” — And, by the way, in order to show 

liow little coma had to do with any evening hour (though, in any age 
but that of our fathers, four in the afternoon would never have been 
til ought an evening hour), the Roman gourmands and horn mvants 
continued through the very last ages of Rome to take their coenaf when 
more* than usually sumptuous, at noon. This, indeed, all people did 
occasionally, just as we sometimes give^a dinner even now so early as 
four P.M., under the name of a breakfast. Those who took their coma 
80 early as this, were said de die comare— io begin dining from high day. 
<liat line in Horace—'' Ut jugulent homines, surgunt de node latrones” 
— does not mean thatrthe robbers rise '''hen others are going to bed, 
viz., at nightfall, but at midnight. For, says one of the three best 
scholars of this earth, de die^ de noctCy mean from that hour which was 
most fully, most intensely day or night — viz., the centre, thei meridian. 
This one fact is surely a clencher as to the question whether comi meant 
dinner or sufper. 


rabid^ as libidinous in ogling the dishes^ and doubtless as 
furiously in haste. • 

With us the revolution has been equally complex. We 
do not, indeed, adopt the luxurious attitude of semi-recum- 
bency; our climate makes that less requisite; and, more- 
over, the Eomans had no. knives and forks, which could 
scarcely be used in that recumbent posture; they ate with 
their fingers from dishes already cut up — whence the 
peculiar force of Seneca’s " post quod non sunt lavandee 
manus.” But, exactly in proportion as our dinner has ad- 
vanced towards evening, have we and has that advanced in 
circumstances of elegance, of taste, of intellectual value. 
This by itself would be much. Infinite would be the gain 
for any people, that it had ceased to be brutal, animal, 
fleshly; ceased to regard the chief meal of the day as a 
ministration only to an animal necessity; that they had 
raised it to a higher ofiice; associated it with social and 
humanising feelings, with manners, with graces moral and 
intellectual: moral in the self-restraint; intellectual in the 
fact, notorious to all men, that the chief arenas for the 
easy display of intellectual power are at our dinner tables. 
But dinner has now even a greater function than this; as 
the fervour of our day’s business increases, dinner is con- 
tmually more needed in its office of a great re-action, I re- 
peat that, at this moment, but for the daily relief of dinner, 
tlie brain of all men who mix in the strife of capitals 
would be unhinged and thrown off its centre. 

If wo should suppose the case of a nation taking three 
equidistant meals, all of the same material and the same 
quantity — all milk, for instance, all Bread, or all rice — it 
would be impossible for Thomas Aquinas himself to say 
which was or was not dinner. The case would be that of 
the Roman aneik which dropped from the skies; to pre- 


VQHt its ever being stolen, the priests made eleven fac* 
smiles of it, in ordfir that a thief, seeing the hopeless- 
ness of distingiiishing the true one, might let all alone. 
And the result was, that, in the next generation, nobody 
could point to the true one. But our dinner, the Eoman 
ccena, is distinguished from the rest by far more than the 
hour; it is distinguished by great functions, and by still 
greater capacities. It is already most beneficial; if it saves 
(as I say it does) the nation from madness, it may become 
more so. 

In saying this, I point to the lighter graces of music, 
and conversation more varied, by which the Roman coena 
was chiefly distinguished from our dinner. I am far from 
agreeing with Mr Croly, that the Roman meal was more 
‘‘intellectual” than ours. On the contrary, ours is the 
m6re intcllccfual by much; we have far greater know- 
ledge, far greater means for making it such. In fact, the 
fault of our meal is — that it is too intellectual; of too 
severe a character; too political; too much tending, in 
many hands, to disquisition. Reciprocation of question 
and answer, variety of topics, shifting of topics, are points 
not sufficiently cultivated. In all else I assent to the fol- 
lowing passage from Mr Croly’s eloquent “ Salathiel;” — 

“If an ancient Roman could start from his slumber into 
the midst of European life, he must look with scorn on its 
absence of grace, elegance, and fancy. But it is in its fes- 
tivity, and most of all in its banquets, that he would feel 
the incurable barbarism of the Gothic blood. Contrasted 
with the fine displays that made the table of the Roman 
noble a picture, and'^thrcw over tt , indulgence of appetite 
the colours of the imagination, with what eyes must ho 
<i3lKtemplato the tasteless and commonplace dres^, the 
coarse attendants, the meagre ornament, the want of mirth. 


music^ and intellectual interest — the whole heavy machi- 
nery that converts the feast into the mere drudgery of 

Thus far the reader knows already that I dissent vio- 
lently; and by looking back he will see a picture of oijr 
ancestors at dinner, in which they rehearse the very part 
in relation to ourselves, that Mr Croly supposes all mo- 
.derns to rehearse in relation to the Eoraans; but in the 
rest of the beautiful description, the positive, though not 
the comparative part, we must all concur: — 

"The guests before me were fifty or sixty splendidly 
dressed men” (they were in fact Titus and his* staff, then 
occupied with ^le siege of Jerusalem), "attended by a 
crowd of domestics, attired with scarcely less splendour; 
for no man thought of coming to the banquet in the robes 
of ordinary life. The embroidered couches, themselves 
striking objects, allowed the ease of position at once de- 
lightful in the relaxing climates of the south, and capable 
of combining with every grace of the human figure. At a 
slight distance, the table loaded with plate glittering under 
a profusion of lamps, and surrounded by couches thus 
covered by rich draperies, was like a central source of 
light radiating in broad shafts of every brilliant hue. The 
wealth of the patricians, and their intercourse with the 
Greeks, made them masters of the first performances of 
the arts. Copies of the most famous statues, and groups 
of sculpture in the precious metals; trophies of victories; 
models of temples, were mingled with vases of flowers and 
lighted perfumes. Finally, covering and closing all, was a 
vast scarlet canopy, which combined the groups beneath 
to the eye, and threw the whole into the form that a 
painter would love.” 

Mr Croly then goes on to insist on the intellectual em- 



bellishments of the Homan dinner; their variety, their 
grace, their adaptation to a festive purpose. The truth is, 
our English imagination, more profound than the Homan, 
is also more gloomy, less gay, less riante. That accounts 
for our want of the gorgeous triclinium^ with its scarlet 
draperies, and for many other differences both to the eye 
and to the understanding. But both we and the Homans 
agree in the main point: we both discovered the true pur-: 
pose which dinner might serve — 1. to throw the grace of 
intellectual enjoyment over an animal necessity; 2. to re- 
lieve and to meet by a benign antagonism the toil of brain 
incident to high forms of social life. 

My object has been to point the ey^to this fact; to 
show uses imperfectly suspected in a recurring accident of 
life; to show a steady tendency to that consummation, by 
holding up, as in a mirror, a series of changes, correspond- 
ing to our own scries with regard to the same chief meal, 
silently going on in a great people of antiquity. 


It is said continually, that the age of the miraculous and 
supernatural is past, I deny that it is so in any sense 
which implies this age to differ from all other generations 
of man except bnc. It is neither past, nor ought we to 
wish it past. Superstition is no vice, absolute and uncon- 
ditional, in the constitution of man. It is or it is not a 
vice according to the particular law of its development. 
It is not true that, in any philosophic view, primus in orhe 
deos fecit timer. As Burke objected — if fear created the 
gods, what created the fear? Far more true, and more 
just to the grandeur of man, it would have been to say — 
Primus in orhe deos fecit sensus infiniti. Even for^the lowest 
Caffre, more goes to the sense of a divine being, than 
simply Lis wrath or his power. Superstition, indeed, in 
the sense of sympathy with the invisible, is the great test 
of man’s grandeur, as an earthly combining with a celes- 
tial. In superstition lies tho possibility of religion. And 
hence the obstinate interfusion of the two ideas in the 
Eoman word Beligio, And though superstition is often 
injurious, degrading, demoralising, it is so, not as a 
form of corruption or degradation, but as a form of non- 
development. The crab is harsh, and for itself worthless. 
But it is the germinal form of innumerable finer fruits. 



Superstition will finally pass into pure forms of religion as 
man advances. It would be matter of lamentation to bear 
that superstition had at all decayed, until man had made 
corresponding stegs in the purification and development 
of his intellect as applicable to religious faith. In order 
to appreciate the present condition of the supernatural, 
and its power over man, let us throw a hasty eye over the 
modes of popular superstition. If these manifest their 
vitality, it will prove that the popular intellect does 
not go along with the bookish or the worldly intellect 
(philosophic we cannot call it), in pronouncing the power 
of the supernatural extinct. The popular feeling is all 
in all. 

That function of miraculous powder, wliich, though widely 
diffused through Pagan and Christian ages alike, has the 
least root in the solemnities of the imagination, we may 
call the Ovidiafi, By way of distinction, it may be so 
called on a principle of convenience; and it may be so 
called on a principle of equity; since Ovid in his '‘Metamor- 
phoses” made the first elaborate display of such a tendency 
in human superstition. It is a movement of superstition 
under the domination of human affections; a mode of 
spiritual awe, not remarkably profound, which seeks to 
reconcile itself with human tenderness or admiration; and 
which represents supernatural power as expressing itself 
by a sympathy with human distress or passion concurrently 
with human sympathies, and as supporting that blended 
sympathy by a symbol incaimated with the fixed agencies 
of nature. For instance, a pair of youthful lovers perish 
by a double suicide originating in - fatal mistake, and a 
mistake operating in each case through a noble self-obli- 
vion. The tree under which their meeting has been con- 
certed, and which witnesses their tragedy, is supposed ever 


afterwards to express the divine sympathy with this catas- 
trophe in the gloomy colour of its fruit: — 

At tu, qafl9 ramis (arbor!) miserabile corpus 
Nunc tegis unius, mox es tectura duorum, 

Sigoa tene ctedis: — pullosque et luctibus aptos 
Semper babe fructus — ^gemini monumenta cruoris.” 


Such is the dying adjuration of the lady to the tree. 
And the fruit becomes thenccforwards a monument of a 
double sympathy — sympathy from man, sympathy from a 
dark power standing behind the agencies of nature, and 
speaking through them. Meantime the object of this 
sympathy is understood to be, not the individual catas- 
trophe, but the universal case of unfortunate love exem- 
plified in this particular romance. The inimitable grace 
with which Ovid has delivered these early traditions of 
human tenderness, blended with human superstition, is 
notorious; the artfulness of the pervading connection, by 
which every tale in the long succession is made to arise 
spontaneously out of that which precedes, is absolutely un- 
rivalled; and this it was, together with his luxuriant 
gaiety, which procured for him a preference even on the 
part of Milton — a poet so opposite by intellectual constitu- 
tion. It is but reasonable, therefore, that this function of 
the supernatural should bear the name of Ovidian. Pagan 
it was in its birth; and to Paganism its titles ultimately 
ascend. Yet we know that in the transitional state through 
the centuries succeeding to Christ, during which Paganism 
and Christianity were slowly descending and ascending, as 
if through difierent strata of the atmosphere, the two 
powers interchanged whatsoever they could. (See Con- 
yers Middleton; and see Blount of our own days.) It 
marked the feeble nature of Paganism, that it could bor- 
row little or nothing: by organisation it was fitted to 
N— III. 



no expansion. But the true faith^ from its vast and coraprc* 
hensive adaptation to the nature of man^ lent itself to 
many corruptions (corruptio opHnii est pessima)^ some deadly • 
in their tendencies^ some harmless. Amongst these 
last was the Ovidian form of connecting the unseen powers 
moving in nature with human sympathies of love or re- 
verence. The legends of this kind are universal and 
endless. No land, the most austere in its Protestantism, 
but has adopted these superstitions: and everywhere, by 
those even who reject them, they are entertained with 
some degree of affectionate respect. That the ass, which 
in its very degradation still retains an under-power of su- 
blimity,* or of sublime suggestion through its ancient con- 
nection with the wilderness, with the Orient, with Jeru- 
salem, should have been honoured amongst all animals by 
the visible impression upon its back of Christian symbols 
— seems reasonable even to the infantine understanding, 
when made acquainted with its meekness, its patience, its 
suffering life, and its association with the Founder of Chris- 
tianity in one great triumphal solemnity. The very man 
who brutally abuses it, and feels a hard-hearted contempt 
for its misery and its submission, has a semi-conscious 
feeling that the same qualities Avere possibly those which 
recommended it to a distinction,! when all things were 

* ** An undei'-poioa* of sullimiti /:** — Everybody knows that Homer 
compared the Telanionian^Ajax, in a moment of heroic endurance, to an 
ass. This, however, was only under a momentary glance from a pecu- 
liar angle of the case. But the Mah'^metan, too solemn, and also per- 
haps stupid, to catch the fanciful or shifting and angular colours of 
th^ijM'-ltlsolutely by choice, under the Jagdad Calipbate, decorated a 
jlil^ifeSvourito hero with the title of the Ass— which title is repeated with 
Teneratiou to this day. Still it should not be forgotten that the wild asa 
is one of the few animals which has tlie reputation of never flying from 
/itn enemy. 

t “ Which recommended if to a dUtiitciion :** — It might be objected 



valued upon a scale inverse, to that of the world. Certain 
it is, that in all Christian lands the legend about the ass 
is current amongst the rural population. The haddock, 
again, amongst marine animals, is supposed, throughout 
all maritime Europe, to be a privileged fish; even in 
austere Scotland, every child can point out the impression 
of St Peter’s thumb, by which from age to age it is dis- 
tinguished from fishes having otherwise an external resem- 
blance. To the same apostle (with a reference, doubtless, 
to St Matthew, chap. 14, St Mark, chap. C, St Luke, chap. 
8, and St John, chap. G) is consecrated another memorial 
of the sea, and of the sea in a state of storm; viz., that 
well-known storm- bird which, from the apostle’s name 
Peter f is named the stormy petrel. All domesticated cattle, 
having the benefit of man’s guardianship and care, are be- 
lieved (or once were believed), throughout England and 
Germany, to go down upon their knees at one particular 
moment of Christmas Eve, when the fields are covered with 
darkness, when no eye looks down but that of God, and 
when the exact anniversary hour revolves of that angelic 
song, once rolling over the fields and flocks of Palestine.* 

that tlio oriental ass was often a superb animal; that it is spoken of 
prophetically as such; and that historically the Syrian ass is made known 
to us as having been used in the prosperous ages of Judea for the riding 
of princes. But this is no objection. Those circumstances in the history 
of the ass were requisite to establish its symbolic propriety in a great 
symbolic pageant of triumph. Whilst, on the other hand, the individual 
animal, there is good reason to think, was marked by all the qualities of 
the general race as a suffering and unoffending tribe in the animal crea- 
tion. The asses on which princes rode were o^ a separate colour, of a 
peculiar breed, and improved, like the English racer, by continual care. 

Speak ye who ride upon white asses!** is the scriptural expression: 
i. e., speak ye who are of princely rank. 

* Mahometanism, which everywhere pillages Christianity, cannot but 
have its own face at times glorified by its stolen jewels. This solemn 
hour of jubilation, gathering even the bru^l natures invo its fold, recalls 



The Glastonbury Thorn is a mere local superstition; but 
at one time the legend was as widely diffused as that of 
Loretto, with the angelic translation of its sanctities: on 
Christmas morning, it was devoutly believed by all Christen- 
dom tjiat this holy thorn put forth its annual blossoms. 
And with respect to the aspen-tree,, which Mrs Hemans 
very naturally mistook for a Welsh legend, having first 
heard it in Denbighshire, the popular faith is universal 
— not Welsh, but European* — that it shivers mystically 
in sympathy with the horror of that mother tree in Pales- 
tine which was compelled to furnish materials for the 
cross. Neither would it in this case be any objection, 
if a passage were produced from Solinus or Theophras- 
tus, implying that the aspen- tree had always shivered; 
for the tree might presumably be penetrated by remote 
presentiments, as well as by remote remembrances. In 
so vast a case, the obscure sympathy should stretch, 
Janus-like, each way. And an objection of the same 
kind to the rainbow, considered as the seal by which 
God ratified his covenant in bar of all future deluges, 
may be parried in something of the same way. It was 
not then first created; optical laws imply that the rainbow 
must, under pre-conditions of sunshine and rain, always 

accordingly the Mahometan legend (which the reader may remember is 
one of those incorporated into Southey’s ** Thalaba”) of a great hour re- 
volving once in every year, during which the gates of Paradise were 
thrown open to their utmost extent, and gales of happiness issued forth 
upon the total family of man. 

* “iPwrqpcaw;”— Or,^more strictly speaking, oo-extens^e with Chris- 
tendom, which is now a much wider expressio..; for, whilst less than two 
millions arc to be subtracted on account of the Ottoman Mussulmans, 
two millions must be added on account of Asiatics (viz., the Armenians, 
&c.), twenty-two millions for the United States; two millions for Canada 
and other English possessions; seven or eight millions for Spanish and 
Portuguese America. 



have displayed the same series of phenomena — true: bul it 
was then first selected by preference, amongst a multitude 
of natural signs as yet unappropriated, and then first 
charged with the new function of a message and a promise 
to man. Pretty much the same theory — that is, the same 
way of accounting for the natural existence without dis- 
turbing the supernatural functions — may be applied to the 
great constellation of the other hemisphere, called the 
Southern Cross. It is viewed popularly in South Ame- 
rica as the great banner, or gonfalon, held aloft by heaven 
before the Spanish heralds of the true f^j^h in 1492. To 
that superstitious and ignorant race it costs not an effbrt 
to suppose, that, by some synchronising miracle, the con- 
stelloition had been then specially called into existence at 
the very moment when the first Christian procession, 
bearing a cross in their arms, solemnly stepped on shore 
from the vessels of Christendom. We Protestants know 
better: we understand the impossibility of supposing such 
a narrow and local reference in orbs so transcendently 
vast as those composing the constellation — orbs removed 
from each other by such unvoyageable worlds of space, 
and having, in fact, no real reference to each other more 
than to any other heavenly bodies whatsoever.* That 
unity of synthesis, by which they are composed into one 
figure of a cross, we know to be a mere accidental re- 
sult from an arbitrary synthesis of human fancy, and de- 
pendent also to a certain extent upon the accidents of our 
own earthly position and distance. A vast diminution, for 
example, of this distance, by calling other stars into our 
field of vision, and by thus filling up the intervals between 
the several elements of the figure, would disturb (and 
might even wholly confuse) the present cruciform arrange- 
ment. Take such and such stars, compose them into let- 



ters, and they will spell such a word. But still it was our 
own choice, a synthesis of our own fancy, originally to 
combine them in this way. They might be divided from 
each other, and otherwise combined. All this is true: and 
yet, a^the combination, though in a partial sense arbitrary, 
does spontaneously offer itself* to every eye, as the glori- 
ous cross does really glitter for ever through the silent 
hours of a vast hemisphere, even they who are not super-* 
stitious may willingly yield to the belief— that, as the 
rainbow was laid in the very elements and necessities 
of nature, yet g^ll bearing a pre-dedication to a service 
which would not be called for until many ages had passed, 
so also the mysterious cipher of man’s imperishable hopes 
may have been entwined and enwreathed with the starry 
heavens from their earliest creation, as a prefiguration — 
as a silent heraldry of mysterious hope through one period, . 
and as a heraldry of gratitude through the other. 

These cases which I have been rehearsing, taking them 
in the fullest literalily, agree in this general point of union 
— they are all silent incarnations of miraculous power- 
miracles, supposing them to have been such originally, 
locked up and embodied in the regular course 'of nature, 
just a% we see -lineaments of faces and of forms in petri- 
factions, in variegated marbles, in sparg, or in rocky strata, 
which our fancy interprets as once having been real human 
existences; but which are now confounded with the very 
substance of a mineral product. | Even those who are 

* ** JDoea spontaneously iUdf — Heber (Bishop of Oaloutta) com- 
plains that this coDstellation is not composed .i stars answering his ex- 
pectation in point of magnitude. But he admits that the dark barren 
space around it gives to this inferior magnitude a very advantageous relief. 

f See upon this subject some interesting speculations (or at least dim 
outlines oud suggestions of speculations) by the German author, Novalis 
(the Graf von Hardenberg). 


most superstitious^ therefore^ look upon cases of this <Mer 
as occupying a midway station between the physical and 
the hyperphysical, between the regular |^urse of nature 
and the"* providential interruption of that course. The 
stream of the miraculous is here confluent with the stream 
of the natural. By such legends, the credulous man finds 
his superstition but little evoked; the incredulous finds his 
philosophy but little revolted. Both alike will be willing^ 
to admit, for instance, that the apparent act of reverential 
thanksgiving, in certain birds, when drinking, is caused 
and supported by a physiological arrangement; and yet, 
perhaps, both alike would bend so far to the legendary 
faith as to allow a child to believe, and would perceive a 
pure child-like beauty in believing, that the bird v/as thus 
rendering a homage of deep thankfulness to the universal 
Father, who watches for the safety of sparrows,, and sends 
his rain upon the just and upon the unjust. In short, the 
faith in this order of the physico-miraculous is open alike 
to the sceptical and the non-sceptical; it is touched super- 
ficially with the colouring of superstition, with its tender- 
ness, its humility, its thankfulness, its awe; but, on the 
•other hand, it is not therefore tainted with its coarseness, 
with its childishness,. with its paralytic credulity. In no 
subject is the difference between the childish and the child- 
like more touchingly brought forward, than occasionally in 
the religious legends of early and of militant Christianity. 
Such a faith reposes upon the universal signs diffused 
through nature, and blends with the mysterious of natural 
grandeurs wherever found— with 4ho mysterious of the » 
starry heavens, with the mysterious of music, and with 
that infinite form of the mysterious for man’s dimmest 
misgivings — 

" Whose dwelling is the light of setting sans.’* * 



from this earliest note in the ascending scale of 
superstitious faith, let us pass to a more alarming key.* 
This first, whi^ I have styled (in equity as well as for 
distinction) the Ovidian^ is too aerial, almost too Allegoric, 
to be susceptible of much terror. It is the mere fancy^ 
in a mood half-plliyful, half-tendqr, which submits to the 
belief. It is the feeling, the sentiment, which creates the 
.faith; not the faith which creates the feeling. And thus 
far we see that modern feeling and Christian feeling has 
been to the full as operative as any that is peculiar to 
Paganism; judging by the Eomish Legenday much more 
so. The O vidian illustrations, under a false superstition, 
are entitled to give the designation, as being the first, the 
earliest, but not at all as the richest. Besides that Ovid’s 
illustrations emanated often from himselP individually, 
not from the popular mind of his country; whereas ours 
of the same class uniformly reposer on large popular tradi- 
tions from the whole of Christian antiquity. These again 
are agencies of the supernatural which can never have a 
private or personal application; they belong to all man- 
kind and to all generations. But the next in order are 
more solemn; they become terrific by becoming personal. • 
These comprehend all that vast body of the marvellous 
which is expressed by the word Ominous, On this head, 
as dividing itself into the ancient and modern, 1 will 
speak next. 

Everybody is aware of the deep emphasis which the 
Pagans laid upon words and upon names, under this 
aspect of the ominous-. The name of several places was 
formally changed by the Eoman government, solely with 
a view to that contagion of evil which was thought to 
lurk in the syllables, if taken significantly. Thus, the 
town of« Maleventum (Ill-come, as one might render it) 




had its name changed by the Homans to Beneventum (or 
^Welcome). Epidamnum^ again^ the Grecian Calais, as one 
might call it, in relation to the Homan Dover of Brundu- 
sium, was a name that would have startled the stoutest- 
hearted Homan “from his propriety.” Had he suffered 
this name to escape him inadvertently, his spirits would 
have forsaken him — he might even have pined away 
under dim misgivings of evil, like a poor negro of Koro- 
mantyn who ip the victim of Obi.* Head into a Greek 
word, which it really was, the name imported no ill; but 
for a Homan to say Ibo Epidamnum, reading the word 
damnum into a Homan sense, was in effect saying, though 
in a hybrid dialect, half-Greek, half-Homan, “ I will go to 
ruin.” The name was therefore changed to Dyrrachium; 
a substitution which quieted more anxieties in Homan 
hearts than the erection of a light-house or the deepening 
of the harbour mouth. A case equally strong, td take ono 
out of many hundreds that have come down to us, is re- 
ported by Livy. There was an officer in a Homan legion, 
at some period of the republic, who bore the name either 
of Atrius Umber or Umbrius Ater; and this man being 
ordered on some expedition, the soldiers refused to follow 
him. They did right. I remember, and have elsewhere 
mentioned, that Coleridge used facetiously to call the well- 
known sister T)f Dr Aikin, Mrs Barbauld, “ that pleonasm of 
nakedness,” the idea of nakedness being reduplicated and 
reverberated in the hare and the hald. This Atrius Umber 
might be called “that pleonasm of darkness;” and one 
might say to him, in the words of Othello, “ What needs 

* “ The victim of Ohi:''— It seems worthy of notice, that this magical 
faBcination is generally called Obi, and the magicians Obeah men, 
throughout Guinea, Negroland, &c.; whilst the Hebrew or Syriac word 
for the rites of necromancy, was Ob or Ohh^ a^ least when ventriloquism 
was concerned. 



this iteration?” To servo under the Gloomy was enough 
to darken the spirit of hope; but to serve under the Black* 
Gloomy was really rushing upon destruction. Yet it may 
be alleged that Captain Death was a favourite and heroic 
leader in the English navy; and that, in our own times, 
Admiral Coffin, though an American by birth, has not 
been unpopular in the same service. This is true: and 
all that can be said is, that these names were two-edged 
swords, which might be made to tpll against the enemy as 
well ns against friends. And possibly the Eoman cen* 
turion might have turned his name to the same account, 
had he possessed the great Dictator’s presence of mind; 
for he, the mighty J ulius, when landing in Africa, having 
happened to stumbje — an omen of the worst character, in 
Boman estimation — took out its sting by following up his 
own oversight, as if it had been intentional, putting his 
lips to tllb ground, kissing it, and ejaculating that in this 
way he appropriated the soil. 

Omens of every class were certainly regarded, in 
ancient Borne, with a reverence that can hardly be sur- 
passed. But yet, v/ith respect to those omens derived 
from names, it is certain that our modern times have 
more memorable examples on record. Out of a large 
number which occur to me, I will cite two : — The present* 
King of the French bore in his boyish days a title which 
he would not have borne, but' for an omen of bad augury 
attached to his proper title. Before the death of his 
father Egalite had raised him to the princely honours of 
Orleans, his own pjoper title had been Duo de Valois. 
Why then was he not openly so styled? The reason lay 
in a secret omen of evil connected with that title, and 

‘ Present This was written, I believe, about 1839. 



communicated only to a few friends of that great house. 
^The story is thus told: — The father of that famous Regent 
Orleans who governed France during the minority of Louis 
XV., was the sole brother of Louis Quatorze. He married 
for his first wife our English princess Henrietta, the sister 
of Charles 11. (and through her daughter, by the way, it is 
that the house of Savoy — i. e., of Sardinia — has pretensions 
to ' the English throne). This unhappy lady, it is too 
W'ell established, was poisoned. Voltaire, amongst many 
others, has affected to doubt the fact; for which in his 
time there might be some excuse. But since thenHbetter 
evidences have placed the matter beyond all question. 
We now know both the fact, and the how, and the why. 
The duke, \d\o possibly was no party to tlie murder of his 
young wife, though otherwise on bad terms with her, 
married for his second wife a coarse German princess, 
homely in every sense, and a singular contrast to the 
elegant creature whom he had lost. She was a daughter 
of the Bavarian Elector; ill-tempered by her own confes- 
sion, self-willed, and a plain speaker to excess; but other- 
wise a woman of honest German integrity. Unhappy she 
was through a long life; unhappy through the monotony 
as well as the malicious intrigues of the French court; 
and so much so, that she did her best (though without 
effect) to prevent her Bavarian niece from becoming 
dauphiness. She acquits her husband, however, in the 
memoirs which she left behind, of any intentional share 
in her unhappiness; and describes him constantly as a 
well-disposed prince. But whether jit were, that,* often 
walking in the dusk of evening through the numerous 
apartments of that vast mansion which her husband had 
so much enlarged, naturally she turned her thoughts to 
that injured English lady who had presided there beforo 



herself: or whether it arose from the inevitable, gloom 
which broods continually over mighty palaces, so much is 
known for certain, that one evening, in the twilight, she 
met at a remote quarter of the reception-rooms something 
or other that she took for a spiritual apparition. What 
she fancied to have passed in this interview with the ap- 
parition was never known except to her nearest friends; 
and if she made any explanations in her memoirs, the 
editor has thought fit to suppress them. All that tran- 
spired was — that some ominous revelation was then made 
with respect to the title of Valois^ wliich was* the proper 
second title of the Orleans family; and that, in consequence 
of this communication, her son, the Regent, had assumed 
in his boyhood that of Due de Chartres. His elder bro- 
ther was dead, so that the superior title was open to him; 
but, in consequence of those mysterious omens, whatever 
they might be, which occasioned much whispering at the 
time, the great title of Valois .was laid aside for ever as of 
bad augury; nor has it ever been resumed through a cen- 
tury and a-half that have followed that mysterious warn- 
ing; nor will it be resumed, unless the numerous children 
of the present Orleans branch should find themselves dis- 
tressed for ancient titles; wMch is not likely, since they 
enjoy the honours of the elder house, as well as of their 
own, and arc now (1839) the children of France in the 
amplest and most privileged sense. 

Here we have a great European case of state omens in 
the eldest of Christian houses. The next which I shall cite 
is equally a state c^se, and carries its public verification 
along with itself. In the spring of 1799, when Napoleon 
was lying before Acre, he became anxious for news from 
Upper Egypt, whither he had despatched Dessaix in pur- 
suit of a distinguished Mameluke leader. This was in the 



middle of May. Not many days after, a courier arrived 
with favourable despatches — favourable in the main, but 
reporting one tragical occurrence on a small scale, that to 
Napoleon, for a superstitious reason, outweighed the public 
prosperity. A djerme, or Nile boat of the largest class, 
having on board a large party of troops and of wounded 
men, together with most of a regimental band, had run 
Rshore at the village of Benouth. No case could be 
more hopeless. The neighbouring Arabs belonged to the 
Yambo tribe — of all Arabs the most ferocious. These 
Arabs and the Fellahs (whom, by the way, many of our 
countrymen are so ready to represent as friendly to the 
French and hostile to ourselves) had taken the oppor- 
tunity of attacking the vessel. The engagement was ob- 
stinate; but at length the inevitable catastrophe could bo 
delayed no longer. The commander, an Italian named 
Morandi, was a brave man; any fate appeared better than 
that which awaited him from an enemy so malignant. He 
set fire to the jiowdcr magazine; the vessel blew up; Mo- 
randi perished ; land all of less nerve, who had previously 
reached the shore in safety, were put to death to the very 
last man, with cruelties the most detestable, by their in- 
human enemies. For all tins Napoleon cared little; but 
one solitary fact there was in the report which struck him 
with secret alarm. This ill-fated djerme — what was it 
called? It was called Italic; and in the name of the 
vessel Napoleon read an augury of the fate which had be- 
fallen the Italian territory. Considered as a dependency 
of France, he felt certain that Italy was lost; and Napo- 
leon was inconsolable. But what possible connection, it 
was asked, can exist between this vessel on the Nile and a 
remote Peninsula of Southern Europe? "No matter,” re- 
plied Napoleon ; " my presentiments never deceive me. You 



will see that all is ruined. I am satisfied that my Italj, my 
conquest, is lost to France T* So, indeed, it was. All Euro- 
pean news had long been intercepted by the English cruis- 
ers; but immediately after the French victory over the 
Vizier in July, 1799, an English admiral first informed the 
French army of Egypt, that Massena and others had lost 
all that Bonaparte had won in 179 C. It is, however, a 
strange illustration of human blindness, that this very sub-* 
ject of Napoleon’s lamentation — this very Italian campaign 
of 1799 — it was, with its blunders and its long equipage of 
disasters, that paved the way for his own elevation to the 
Consulship, just seven calendar months from the receipt of 
that Egyptian despatch; since most certainly in the strug- 
gle of Brumaire 1799, doubtful and critical through every 
stage, it was the pointed contrast between his own Italian 
campaigns and those of his successors, which gave effect to 
Napoleon’s pretensions, and which procured them a ratifi- 
cation amongst the people. The loss of Italy — that loss 
which so much disturbed him in Syria — was essential to the 
full effect of Napoleon’s previous conquest. By anything 
short of that temporary eclipse for France, no adequate con- 
trast between himself and his- rivals would have been esta- 
blished for Napoleon; no opening would have been made for 
Marengo in the summer of 1800. That and the imbecile 
characters of Napoleon’s chief military opponents were the 
true keys to the great revolution of Brumaire. The stone 
which he rejected became the keystone of the arch. So 
that, after all, he valued the omen falsely; though the very 
next news from Europe, courteously communicated by his 
English enemies, showed that he h..d read its immediate 
interpretation rightly. 

These omens, derived from names, are therefore common 
to the ancient and the modern world. But perhaps, in 



strict logic, they ought to have been classed as one sub- 
division or variety under a much larger head; viz., words 
generally, no matter whether proper names or appellatives, 
viewed as operative powers and agencies, bearing, that is 
to say, a charmed power against some party concerned 
from the moment that they leave the lips. 

Homer describes prayers as having a separate life, rising 
buoyantly upon wings, and making their way upwards to 
the throne of Jove. Such, but in a sense more gloomy 
and terrific, is the force ascribed under a wide-spread super- 
stition, ancient and modern, to words uttered on critical 
occasions; or to words uttered at any time, which point to 
critical occasions. Plencc the doctrine of the 

necessity of abstaining from strong wotds or direct words in 
expressing fatal contingencies. Favete linguis — favour-me 
with your tongues, give me the benefit of your propitious 
voices — was a standing request in Pagan days. It was shock- 
ing, at all times of Paganism, to say of a third person — “ If he 
should die;” or to suppose the case that he might be mur- 
dered. The very word death was consecrated and forbid- 
den; 2. e.y was tabooed. Si quiddam humanum passus faerit 
was the extreme form to which men advanced in such 
cases. And this scrupulous feeling, originally founded on 
the supposed eflficacy of words, prevails to this day. It is 
a feeling undoubtedly supported by good taste, which 
strongly impresses upon us all the discordant tone of any 
impassioned subjects (death, religion, &c.) with the com- 
mon key of ordinary conversation. But good taste is not 
in itself sujfficient to account for a scrupulousness so general 
and so austere. In the lowest classes there is a shudder- 
ing recoil still felt from uttering coarsely and roundly the 
anticipation of a person’s death. Suppose a child, heir to 
some' great estate, the subject of conversation — the hypo- 



thesis of his death is put cautiously, under such forms as, 
‘‘If anything but good should happen;” “if any change 
should occur;” “if any of us should chance to miscarry,” 
and so forth. Always a modified expression is sought — 
always an indirect one. And this timidity arises under 
the old superstition still lingering amongst men, like that 
ancient awe, noticed by Wordsworth, for the sea and its 
tremendous secrets — feelings that have not, no, nor ever 
will, become entirely obsolete. No excess of nautical skill 
will ever perfectly disenchant the great*abys8 from its ter- 
rors — no progressive knowledge will ever medicine that 
dread misgiving of a mysterious and pathless power given 
to words of a certain import, or uttered in certain situa- 
tions; by a parent, for instance, to persecuting or insulting 
children; by the victim of ho-rrible oppression, when la- 
bouring in final agonies;* and by otlfers, whether cursing 
or blessing, who stand central to great passions, to great 
interests, or to great perplexities. 

And here, by way of parenthesis, I might stop to at- 
tempt an explanation of the force attached to that scrip- 
tural expression, “ Thou hast said zY.” It is an answer 
adopted by our Saviour; and the meaning seems radically 
to be this: — the popular belief authorised the notion, that 
simply to have uttered any great thesis, though uncon- 
sciously simply to have united verbally any two great 
ideas, though for a purpose the most different or even op- 
posite, had the mysterious power of realising them in act. 
An exclamation, though in the purest spirit of sport, ad- 
di essed to a boy, “ You shall he our imperator^^ was many 
times supposed to be the forerunner and fatal mandate for 

* /La for example in that mysterious poem of Horace, where a dying 
boy points the fulminations of his dying words against the witch that 
presides over his tortures. 



the boy’s elevation. Words that were blind, and words 
that were torn from frantic depths of anguish, oftentimes, 
it was thought, executed themselves. To*connect, though 
but for denial or for mockery, the ideas of Jesus and 
the Messiah — as, Ari thou the Christ, or the Anointed f — 

furnished an augury of their eventual coincidence. It 
was an argumentum ad hominem, and drawn from a popular 

But a modern reader will object the want of an accom- 
panying design or serious intention on the part of him 
who utters the words — he never meant his words to be 
taken seriously — nay, his purpose was the very opposite. 
True: and precisely that is the reason wjiy his words are 
likely to operate effectually, and why they should be 
feared. Here lies the critical point which most of all 
distinguishes this faith. Words took effect, not merely in 
default of a serious use, but exactly in consequence of 
that default. It was the chancy word, the stray word, the 
word uttered in jest, or in trifling, or in scorn, or uncon- 
s^'tously, which took effect; whilst ten thousand words, 
uttered with purpose and deliberation, were sure to prove 
inert. One case will illustrate this: — Alexander the 
Great, in the outset of his Persian expedition, consulted 
■ he oracle at Delphi. For the sake of his army, had he 
'jocn even without personal faith, he desired to have his 
enterprise grandly authorised. ’No persuasions, however, 
would move the priestess to enter upon her painful and 
agitating duties, for the sake of obtaining the regular 
answer of the god. Wearied with this, Alexander seized 
the great lady by the arm, and using & much violence as 
was becoming to the two characters — of a great prince 
acting, and a great priestess suffering — he pushed her 
gently backwards to the tripod on which, in her profes- 



sional character, it was, requisite that she should be 
seated. Instantly and spontaneously, in the hurry and 
excitement of tfie moment, the priestess exclaimed, XI era/, 
aviKfiroi It — 0 son, thou art irresistible; never adverting for 
an instant to his martial purposes in the future, but 
simply to his present personal importunities at the 
moment. The person whom she thought of as incapable 
of resistance, was not Darius, the great King of Susa and 
Persepolis, of Ecbatana, and Babylon, and Sardis, but her 
own womanly self; and all she meanc consciously was — 
0 son, I can refuse nothing to one so earnest. But 
mark what followed: Alexander desisted at once — he 
asked for no furrier oracle — he refused it, and exclaimed, 
joyously: — “ Now then, noble priestess, farewell; I have 
the oracle — I have your answer, and better than any 
which you could deliver from the tripod. I am invindible 
— I am irresistible — so you have declared, you cannot 
revoke it. True, you thojjght not of Persia — you thought 
only of ray importunity. But that very fact is what rati- 
fies youp answer. In its blindness I recognise its truth. 
An oracle from a god might be distorted by political 
ministers of the god, as in time past too often has been 
suspected. The oracle was said of old — to Medise; and 
in my own father’s time to Philippise, But an oracle 
delivered unconsciously, indirectly, blindly, that is the 
oracle which cannot deceive.” Such Avas the all-famous 
oracle Avliich Alexander extorted — such was the oracle on 
which he and his array relying went forth “ conquering 
and to conquer.” 

Exactly on this' principle do the Turks act, in putting 
so high a value on the words of idiots. Enlightened 
Christians at one time wondered, but have long ceased to 
wonder, at their allowing any weight to people bereft of 



understanding. Thai is the very reason for allowing them 
w^eight: that very defect it is which makes them capable 
of being organs for conveying words fiwm higher intelli- 
gences. A fine human intelligence cannot be a passive 
instrument — it cannot be a mere tube for conveying the 
words of insi^iration: such an intelligence will intermingle 
ideas of its’ own, or will otherwise modify what is given, 
and pollute what is sacred. 

It is also on this principle that the whole practice and 
doctrine of sortilegy .rest. Let us confine ourselves to 
that mode of sortil egy which is conducted by throwing 
open privileged books at random, and thus leaving* to 
chance, or else (which was a variety in the practice often 
resorted to by Haydon the painter) throwing such books 
open in the dark, and leaving to the morning light the 
revelation of the silent oracle which lurked in the passage 
first catching the eye. The books used have varied with 
the caprice or the error of ages. Once the Hebrew 
Scriptures had the preference. Probably they were laid 
aside, not because the reverence for their authority de- 
cayed, but because it increased, so as to awaken in some 
minds a scrupulous sense of profanation in such a use of 
the sacred text. In later times Virgil has been the 
favourite. Considering the very Ihiiitcd range of ideas 
to which Virgil was tied by his theme — a colonising ex- 
pedition in a liarbarous age — no worse book could have 
been selected:* so little indeed does the “iEiicid” exhibit 

* worse hook could have been selected :'' — TLe probable reason for 
making so unhai)py a choice seems to liavc be^n that Virgil, in tlio mid- 
dle ages, had the character of a necromancer, a diviner, &c. This we all 
know from Diuitc. Now, the original reason for this strange translation 
of character and functions I hold to have arisen from the circumstance of 
Ills maternal grandfather having home tlie name of Magus, People in 
those ages held that a powerful enchanter must have a magician, not 


of human life in its multiformity, tl>at much tampering 
-with the plain sense of the text is required to bring real 
cases of human interest and real situations within the scope 
of any Virgilian response, though aided by the utmost lati- 
tude of accommodation. A king, a soldier, a sailor, Ac., 
might look for correspondences to their own circum- 
stances. Accordingly, everybody remembers the dreadful 
answer which Charles I. received at Oxford from this 
mode of sortilegy at the opening of the Parliamentary 
War, But, beyond these broad obvious categories, and 
a very few subdivisions lying within them, it is voin to 
look for any reasonable compass of discrimination in the 
oracles of Virgil. Indeed, it was this very limitation in 
the Virgilian range of ideas, when the case itself imposed 
a vast Shaksperian breadth of speculation — a field of vision 
like that on which the fiend may be supposed to have 
planted Christ when showing to him all the kingdoms of 
the earth — that eventually threw back the earnest in- 
quiries into futurity upon the Sortes BihliccB, No case, 
indeed, can try so severely, or put upon record so conspi- 
cuously, this indestructible propensity for looking into the 
future by the aid of dice, real or figurative, as the fact of 
men eminent for piety having yielded to the temptation. 
I pause, to give one instance — the instance of a person 
who, in practical theology, although a narrow dissenter, 
has been, perhaps, more popular than any other in any 

amongst his agnati, hut amongst his cognati; the power must run in the 
blood, which on the maternal side could be undeniably ascertained. 
Under this preconception, they took Magus not for a proper name, but 
for a professional designation. Amongst many illustrations of the magical 
character sustained by Virgil in the middle ages, wo may mention tliat a 
writer, about the year 1200, or the era ef our own Robin Hood, pub- 
lished by Montfaucon, says of Virgil, that ** Captm a Jtomanis inrisi-' 
exiit ivitpu: Nea;polim,'* 


church. Dr Doddridge, in his earlier days, was in a 
dilemma both of conscience and of taste as to the election 
he should make between two situations, one in possession, 
both at bis command. He was settled at Harborough, in 
Leicestershire, and was " pleasing himself with the view 
of a continuance” in that situation. True, he had received 
an invitation to Northampton; but the reasons against 
complying seemed so strong, that nothing was wanting 
beyond the civility of going over to Northampton, and 
making ah apologetic farewell. Accordingly, on the last 
Sunday in November of the year 1729, the doctor went 
and preached a sermon in conformity with those pur- 
poses. “ But,” says he, “ on the morning of that day an 
incident happened which affected me greatly.” On thq 
night previous, it seems he had been urged' very im- 
portunately by his Northampton friends to undertake the 
vacant office. Much personal kindness had concurred with 
this public importunity; the good doctor was afiected; 
he had prayed fervently, alleging in his prayer, as the rea- 
son which chiefly weighed with him to reject the offer, 
that it was far beyond his forces, and mainly because he 
was too young,* and had no assistant. He goes on thus: 
“As soon as ever this address” (meaning the prayer) 
“was ended, I passed through a#oom of the house in 
which I lodged, where a child was reading to his mother, 
and the only words I heard distinctly were these. And as 
thy days, so shall thy strcrigth he^ This singular coincidence 
between his own difficulty and a scriptural line, caught at 
random in passing hastily through a room (but observe, a 

: o ; 

* ** Because he was too yowng :** — Dr Doddridge was’ born in the sum- 
mer of 1702; consequently he was at this era of his life about twenty* 
seven years old, and not so obviously entitled to the excuse of youth. 
But he pleaded his youth, not with a view to the exertions required, but 
to the aucioritas and responsibilities of the situation. 


line insulated from the context, and placed in high relief 
to his ear), shook his resolution. Accident co-operated, 
a promise to be fulfilled at Northampton, in a certain 
contingency, fell due at the instant; the doctor was de- 
tained; the detention gave time for further representa- 
tions; new motives arose; old difficulties were removed; 
and finally the doctor saw, in all this succession of steps 
(the first of which, however, lay in the Sortes Bihlicce)^ 
clear indications of a providential guidance. With that 
conviction he took up his abode at Northampton, and 
remained there for the next thirty-one yehrs, until he left 
it for his grave at Lisbon; in fact, be passed at Northamp- 
ton the whole of liis public life. It must, therefore, be 
allowed to stand upon the records of sortilegy, that in the 
main direction of his life — not, indeed, as to its spirit, but 
as to its form and local connections — a Protestant divine 
of much merit, and chiefly in what regards practice, and 
of the class most opposed to superstition, who himself 
vehemently combated superstition, took his determining 
impulse from a variety of the Sortes Virgiliancc. 

This variety was known in earlier times to the Jews — 
as early, indeed, as the era of the Grecian Pericles, if we 
are to believe the ‘‘ Talmud.” It is known familiarly to 
this day amongst Poli^ Jews, and is called or the 

daughter-voice; the meaning of which appellation is this: — 
The Urim and Thummim, or oracle in the breastplate of 
the high priest, spoke directly from God. It was, there- 
fore, the original, or mother- voice. But about the time of 
Pericles — that is, about one hundred years before the time 
of Alexander the Grea*t — the light o'* prophecy was quenched 
in Malachi or Haggai; and the oracular jewels in the 
breastplate became simultaneously dim. Henceforwards 
the mother- voice was heard no longer: but to this sue- 



ceeded an imperfect or daughter-voice (JBqfh col), which 
lay in the first words happening to arrest the attention at 
a moment of perplexity. An illustration, which has been 
often quoted fr«n the “ Talmud,” is to the following effect: 
— Babbi Jochannan, and Babbi Simeon Ben Lachisli, were 
anxious about a friend Babbi Samuel^ six hundred miles dis- 
tant on the Euphrates. Whilst talking earnestly together 
on this subject in Palestine, they passed a school; they 
paused to listens it was a child reading the first book of 
Samuel; and the words which they caught were these — 
And Samuel died. These words they jeceived humbly and 
sorrowfully as a Bath- col: and the next horseman from 
the East brought word accordingly that Babbi Samuel 
had been gathered to his fathers at some station on the 

Here is the very same case, the same Bath-col substan- 
tially, whicli I have cited from Orton’s “ Life of Dod- 
dridge.” And Du Cange himself notices, in his Glossary, 
the relation w'hich this bore to the Pagan Sorfes. “ It 
was,” says he, a fantastical way of divination, invented by 
the Jews, not unlike the Sories Virgiliance of the heathens. 
For* as with them the first words they happened to dip 
into in the works of that jioet became a kind of oracle 
whereby they predicted future events, so, with the Jews, 
when they appealed to Bath-col, the first words they heard 
from any one’s mouth were looked upon as a voice from 
Heaven directing them in the matter they inquired about.” 

Such is verhatim the report of Du Cange on this matter; 
and if from any of its expressions the reader should be dis- 
posed to infer that this ancient form of the practical mira- 
culous is at all gone out of use, even the example of Dr 
Doddridge may satisfy him to the contrary. Such an ex- 
ample was sure to authorise a large imitation. But, even 



apart from that, the superstition is common. The records 
of conversion amongst felons and other ignorant persons 
might be cited by hundreds upon hundreds, to prove that 
no practice is more common than that of trying the spiri- 
tual fate, and abiding by the import of any passage in the 
Scriptures which may first present itself to the eye. Cow- 
per the poet has recorded a case of this sort in his own ex- 
•jierience. It is one to which all the unhappy are prone. 
But a mode of questioning the oracles of darkness, far more 
childish, and, under some shape or other, equally common 
amongst those who are prompted by mere vacancy of mind, 
without that determination to sacred fountains which is 
impressed by misery, may be found in the following extra- 
vagant silliness of Eousseau, which I give in his own words 
— a case for which he admits that he himself would have 
shut up any other man (meaning in a lunatic hospital) 
whom he had seen practising the same absurdities: — 

** Au milieu de mes 6tudes ct d'une vie innocente autant qu’on lapuisso 
raener, et malgr6 tout co qu'on m'avoit pu dire, la peur de i’Enfer m'agi- 
toit encore. Souvent je mo demandois — En quel etat suis-jo] Si je 
mourrois & Tinstant mcme, seroia-je damniJ Scion mes Jansenistes [he 
had been reading the books of the Poi-t Royal], la chose est indubitable: 
mais, selon ma conscience, il me paroissoit que non. Toujours craintif 
et flottant dans cette cruelle incertitude, j’avois recours (pour en sortir) 
aux expedients les plus risibles, et pour lesqucls jc ferois volontiers en- 
fermer un homme si je lui eif voyois faire autant. . . • Un jour, r6- 
vant d. ce triste sujet, je m’exerfois machiualement d. lancer les pierros 
contre les troncs des arbres; et cela avec mon addresse ordinaire, c*est-ii 
dire sans presque jamais en toucher aucun. Tout au milieu de ce bel 
exercise, je jn’avisai de faire une esp^ce do pronostio pour calmer mon 
inquietude. Je me dis— je m’en vais jetor cette pierre contre Tarbro qui 
est yis-a-vis dc rooi: si jc le touche, signe de salut: si je le manque, signe 
do damnation. Tout en disant ainsi, je jetto ma pierre d’une main trem- 
blante et avec un horrible battement de ooeur mais si heureusement qu’elle 
ya frapper au beau-milieu de Farbre: oe qui yeritableinent n’6toit pas 
difficile: car j’ayois eu soin de le choisir fort gros et fort pr43. Depuh 
Jjorsje n'aiplua douhtS de mon mint Je ne sais, en me rappclantce 
trait si je dois rire ou gdmir but moimeme.” — Lie Confeaaions, Partie L 
Itivre VL 



Now, really, if Bousseau tbouglit fit to try such tremen- 
dous appeals by taking “a shy” at any random object, he 
should have governed his sortilege (for such it may bo 
called) with something more like equity. Fair play is a 
jewel: and in such a case a man is supposed to play 
against an adverse party hid in darkness. To shy at a 
cow within six feet distance gives no chance at all to his 
dark antagonist. A pigeon rising from a tra]^at a suitable 
distance might be thought a sincere staking of the interest 
at issue: but as to the massy stem of a tree '^fort gros et fort 
pres” — the sarcasm of a Boman emperor applies, that to miss 
under such conditions implied an original genius for miss- 
ing, so that to hit — as it involved no risk — was no honest 
trial of the case. After all, the sentimentalist had youth to 
jdead in apology for this extravagance. Ho was hypochon- 
driacal; he was in solitude; and he was possessed by gloomy 
imaginations from the works of a society in the highest 
public credit. But most readers will be aware of similar 
appeals to the mysteries of Providence, made in public by 
well-kQown sectarians, speaking from the solemn station 
of a pulpit. I forbear to quote cases of this nature, though 
really existing in print, because I feel that the profaneness of 
such anecdotes is more revolting and more painful to pious 
minds than the absurdity is amusing. Meantime it must 
not be forgotten, that the principle concerned, though it 
may happen to disgust men when associated with ludicrous 
circumstances, is, after all, the very same which has la- 
tently governed very many modes of ordeal, or judicial 
inquiry; and which has been adopted^as a moral rule or 
canon, equally by the blindest of the Fagans, the most 
fanatical of the Jews, and the most enlightened of the 
Christians. It proceeds upon thS assumption that man 
by his actions puts a question to Heaven; and that 

o — III. 



Heaven answers by tbe event. Lucan, in a well-known 
passage, takes it for granted that the cause of Csesar had 
the approbation of the gods. But why? .Simply from the 
event. jN'otoriously it was the triumphant cause. It was 
victorious. It was the victrix causa;” and, as such, simply 
because it was victrix,” it had a right in his eyes to pos- 
tulate the divine favour as mere matter of necessary infe- 
rence: whilsVon the other hand, the victa causa, though it 
seemed to Lucan sanctioned and consecrated by human 
virtue in the person of Cato, stood, as regarded heavenly 
verdicts, unappealably condemned.* This mode of rea- 
soning may strike the reader as merely Pagan. Not at 
all. In England, at the close of the Parliamentary War, 
it was generally argued, that Providence had decided the 
question against the Eoyalists by the mere fact of the 
issue. Milton himself, with all his high-toned morality, 
uses this argument as irrefragable; which is odd, were it 
only on this account— that the issue ought necessarily to 
have been held for a very considerable time as merely 
provisional, and liable to be set aside by possible coun- 
ter-issues through one generation at the least.f But the 

• Victrix causa Lds placuit; sed victa Catoni— that cause which tri- 
umphed approved itself to the gods; bat, in retaliation, the vanquished 
cause approved itself to Cato. Perhaps, in all human experience, in 
books or in colloquial intercourse, there never was so grand, so awful a 
compliment paid to an individual as this of Lucan’s to Cato; nor, accord- 
ing to my own judgment, one so entirely misplaced. One solitary indi- 
vidual, in his single person, is made to counterpoise by weight of auct<h 
ritas and power of sanction the entire Pantheon. The Julian cause 
might have seemed thecbetter, for it wqn tbe favour of Heaven. But 
no. The Pompeian must have been the better, for it won the favour of 

*t* And in fact not merely liable to be set aside, but actually set aside 
in 1660 by the Restoration. 4?his reversal was again partially reversed, 
or at least to a great extent virtually reversed, by the Revolution of 
1688-9: upon which great event the true judgment, too little perceived 



capital argument against sucli doctrine is to be found in 
the New Testament. Strange that Milton should over- 
look, and strange that moralists in general have over- 
looked, the sudden arrest given to this dangerous (but 
most prevalent) mode of reasoning” by the Founder of our 
faith. He first, he last, taught to his astonished disciples 
the new truth — at that time the astounding truth — that 
no relation exists between the immediate practical events 
of things on the one side, and divine verdicts on the 
other. There was no presumption, for instance, against a 
man’s favour with God, or that of his parents, because he 
happened to be afflicted to extremity with bodily disease. 
There was no shadow of an argument for believing a party 
of men criminal objects of heavenly wrath, because upon 
them, by*fatal preference, a tower had fallen, and because 
their bodies were exclusively mangled. How little can it 
be said that Christianity has y|t developed the fulness of 
its power, when kings and senates so rdlently acted under 
a total oblivion of this great though novel Christian doc- 
trine, and would do so still, were it not that religious ar- 
guments have been banished by the progress of taste and 
the caprices of fashion from the field of political discus- 

But, quitting this province of the ominous, where it is 
made the object of a direct personal inquest, whether by 
private or by national trials, or by the sortilegy of events, 
let us throw our eyes over the broader field of omens, as 
they offer themselves spontaneously to those who do not 
seek, or would even willingly evade tbsm. There are few 

by English historians, is, that, for the most part, it was a re-affirmation 
of the principles contended for by the Long Parliament in the Parlia* 
mentary War. Bat this final verdict Milton did not live to see, or even 
dimly to anticipate. 



of these, perhaps none, which are not universal in their 
authority, though every land in turn fancies them (like its 
proverbs) of local authority and origin. The death-watch, 
for instance, extends from England to Cashmere, and across 
India to the remotest nook of 3engal. A hare crossing a 
man’s path on starting in the morning, has been held in 
all countries alike to prognosticate evil in the course of 
that day. Thus, in the " Confessions of a Thug ” (which is 
partially built on a real judicial document, and everywhere 
conforms to the usages of Hindostan), ‘the hero of the hor- 
rid narrative* charges some disaster of his own upon hav- 
ing neglected such an omen in the morning. The same 
belief operated in Pagan Italy. The same omen announced 
to Lord Lindsay’s Arab attendants in the desert the ap- 
proach of some disaster, which partially happened in the ' 
morning. And a Highlander of the 42d regiment, in his 
printed memoirs, notices the same harbinger of evil as 
having crossed hi^own patli on a day of personal disaster 
in Spain. 

* **The hero of the hoirid nan^atiffe :” — Horrid it certainly is; and ono 
incident in every case gives a demoniacal air of coolness to the hellish atro- 
cities— viz., the regular forwarding of the bhecls, for the purpose of dig- 
ging the graves. But else the tale tends too much to monotony; and for 
a reason which ought to have checked the author in carrying on the work 
to three volumes; namely, that, although there is much dramatic variety 
in the circumstances of the several cases, there is none in the catas- 
trophes. The brave man and the coward, the erect spirit fighting to the 
last, and the poor creature that despairs from the first — all are con- 
founded in ono undistinguishing end by sudden strangulation. This was 
the original defect of the plan. The sudden surprise, and the scientific 
nocsing as with a Chili^ laeso, constituted, in fact, the main feature of 

Thuggee. But still, the gradual theat 'cal arrangement of each Thug 
severally by the side of a*victim, must often have roused violent suspi- 
cion, and that in time to intercept the suddenness of the murdi^r. Now, 
for the sake of the dramatic effect, this interception ought more often to 
have been introduced, else the murders are but so many blind Boriaises 
as if in sleep. All this might have been managed otherwise. 



Birds are eveu more familiarly associated with such 
ominous warnings. This chapter in the great volume of 
superstition was indeed cultivated with unusual solicitude 
amongst the Pagans — ornithomancy (or the derivation of 
omens from the motions of birds) grew into an elaborate 
science. But if every rule and distinction upon the num- 
ber and the position of birds, whether to the right or the 
left,, had been collected from our own village matrons, it 
would appear that- no more of this Fagan science had gone 
to wreck amongst 'ourselves, than must naturally follow 
the difference between a believing and a disbelieving go- 
vernment. Magpies are still of awful authority in village 
life, according to tlieir number, <kc.; for a striking illus- 
tration of which I may refer the reader to Sir Walter 
Scott’s Demonology,” reported not at second-hand, but 
from Sir Walter’s personal communication with some- sea- 
faring fellow-traveller in a stage-coach.* 

Among the ancient stories of the same class is one which 

* Since tLis was first written, ITaydon the painter, iii his Autobio- 
graphy [I. p. 76], refers to this ancient superstition in terms which I 
have reason to thinly inaccurate: — "She” (his mother) "appeared de- 
pressed and melancholy. During the yourney, four magpies rose, chat- 
tered, and flew away. The singular superstitions about the bird were 
remembered by us all. I repeated to myself the old saw — * One for sor- 
row, two for mirth, three for a wedding, andfowrfor death.* I tried to 
deceive my dear mother, by declaring that two were for death, emd four 
for mirth: but she persisted that four announced death in Devonshire; 
and absurd as we felt it to be, we could not shake off the superstition.” 
About three o’clock in the succeeding night Mrs Haydon died. Mean- 
time, whatever may be the Devonshire version of the old saying, I am 
assured by a lady that the form current elsewhere is this:-- 
" One for sorrow; 

• Two for mirth; 

> Three for a wedding; 

And four for a birth.” 

And It is clear that* the rhyme in the latter reading offers someguanuitee 
for its superior accuracy. 


I will repeat — ^having reference to that Herod Agrippe, 
grandson of Herod the Great, before whom St Paul made 
his famous apology at Caesarea. This Agrippa, ot^- 
whelmed by debts, had fled from Palestine to*Eome in the 
latter years of Tiberius. His mother’s interest with the 
widow of Germanicus procured him a special recommen- 
dation* to her son Caligula. Viewing this child and heir 
of the lamented Germanicus as the rising sun, Agrippa 
had been too careless in his language. True, the uncle of 
Germanicus was the reigning prince; but, he was old, and 
breaking up. True, the son of Germanicus was not yet on 
the throne; but he soon would be; so that Agrippa was 
rash enough to call the emperor a superannuated old fellow^ 
and even to wish for his death. Sejanus was now dead 
and gone; but there was no want of spies: and a certain 
Macro reported his words to Tiberius. Agrippa was in 
consequence arrested; the emperor himself condescending 
to point out the noble Jew to the officer on duty. *The 
case was a gloomy one, if Tiberius should happen to sur- 
vive much longer: and the story of the omen proceeds 
thus: — “Now Agrippa stood in. his bonds before the im- 
perial palace, and in his affliction leaned against a certain 
tree, upon the boughs of which it happened that a bird 
had alighted which the Bomans call huho^ or the owl. All 
this was steadfastly observed by a German prisoner, who 
asked a soldier what might be tSe name and oflence of that 
man habited in purple. Being told that the man’s name 
was Herod Agrippa, and that he was a Jew of high rank, 
who had given a personal oflence tp the emperor, the 
German asked permission to go near^ and address him; 
which being granted, he spoke thus: — ^“This disaster, 1 
doubt not, young man, is trying to your heart; and per- 
b^ you will not believe me when I announce to you be- 



forehand the providential deliverance which is impend- 
ing. However^ this much I will say — and for my sincerity 
let me appeal to my native ggds as well as to the gods of 
thhi Rome, who have brought us both into trouble — that 
no selfish object prompts me to this revelation; for a re- 
velation it is. Listen. It is fated that you shall not l^g 
remain in chains. Your deliverance will be speedy; and 
I can venture, to guarantee that you shall be raised to the 
very highest rank and power; that you shall be the object 
of as much envy as now you are of pity; that you shall re- 
tain your prosperity till death; and that you shall transmit 

that prosperity to your children. But ” And there 

the German paused. Agrippa was agitated; the bystanders 
were attentive; and after a time the German, pointing 
solemnly to the bird, proceeded thus: — “But this remem- 
ber heedfully — that, when next you^see the bird which now 
perches above your head, you will only have five days 
more to live ! This event will be surely accomplished by 
that same mysterious god who has thought fit to send the 
bird as a warning sign; and you, when you come to your 
glory, do not forget me that foreshadowed it in your hu- 
miliation.” The story adds, that Agrippa affected to laugh 
when the German soldier concluded; after which it goes 
on to say, that in a few weeks, being delivered by the 
death of Tiberius; being released from prison by the very 
prince on whose account he had incurred the risk; being 
faised to a tetrarchy, and afterwards to the kingdom of all 
Judea/ coming into all the prosperity which had been pro- 
mised to him* by the German, and nottbsing any part of his 
interest at Rome through the assassination of his patron 
Caligula — he began to look back reverentially to the words 
of the German, and forwards with anxiety tc the second 
coming of the bird. Seven years of sunshiiie had now 



Blipged away as silently as a dream. A great festival, 
with public shows and votive offerings, was on the point of 
being celebrated in honour pf Claudius Csesar, at St rate's 
Tower, otherwise called Ceesarea, which (and not Jerusalem) 
was the Homan metropolis of Palestine. Duty and policy 
ali^ne required that the king of the land should go down 
and unite in this mode of religious homage to the emperor. 
He did so; and on the second morning of the festival, by 
way of doing more conspicuous honour to the great solem- 
nity, he assumed a very sumptuous attire of silver armour, 
burnished so highly as to throw back a dazzling glare 
from the sun’s morning beams upon the upturned eyes of 
the vast multitude around him. Immediately from the 
eycophantish part of the crowd, of whom a vast majority 
were Pagans, ascended a cry of glorification as to’ some 
manifestation of Deity. Agrippa, gratified by this success 
of his new apparel, and by this flattery, had not the firm- 
ness (though a Jew, and conscious of the wickedness, 
greater in himself than in the heathen crowd) to reject 
the blasphemous homage. Voices of adoration continued 
to ascend; when suddenly looking upward to the vast 
awnings prepared for screening the audience from the noon- 
day heats, the king perceived the same ominous bird which 
he had seen at Rome in the day of his affliction, seated 
quietly, and looking down upon himself. In thabsame mo- 
ment an icy pang shot through his intestines. He was re- 
moved into the palace ; and at the end of five days, completely 
worn out by pain, Agrippa expired, in the fifty-fourth year 
of his age, and the s^enth of his sovereign power. 

Whether the bird, here described is an owl, were really 
such, may be doubted, considering the narrow nomencla- 
ture of the Romans for all zoological purposes, and the 
to^'indiifeience of the Roman mind to tdl distinctions in 



natural history which are not upon the very largest scale. 
I myself am greatly disposed to suspect that the bird was 
a magpie. Meantime, speaking of ornithoscopy in rela- 
tion to Jews, I remember another story in that subdivi- 
sion of the subject which it may be woith while lepeat- 
ing; not merely on its own account, as wearing a fine 
oriental air, but also for the correction which it suggests 
to a very common erior. 

In some period of Syrian warfare, a large military de- 
tachment was entering at some point of Syria from the 
deseit of the Euphrates. At the head of the whole array 
rode two men of some distinction* one was an augur of 
high reputation, the other was a Jew called Mosollam, a 
man of admirable beauty, a matchless horseman, unerring 
as an archer, and accomplished in all martial arts. As they 
were now fiist coming within enclosed grounds, after a 
long maich in* the wilderness, the augur was most anxious 
to inauguiate the expedition by some impiessive omen. 
Watching anxiously, therefoie, he soon saw 'a bird of 
splendid plumage perching on a low wall. ‘'Halt!” he 
said to the advanced guard; and all dicw up in a line. 
At that moment of silence and expectation, Mosollam, 
slightly turning himself in his saddle, drew his bow-stiing 
to his ear, his Jewish hatied of Pagan auguiies burned 
within him; his inevitable shaft went right to its maik, 
and the beautiful bird fell dead. The augur tuined round 
in fury. But the Jew laughed at him. "This biid, you 
say, should have furnished us with omens of our future 
fortunes. And yet, had he known anything of his own, 
he would never have perched where he did, or have come 
within the range of Mosollam’s archery. How should 
that bird know our destiny, who did not know that it was 
his own to be shot by Mosollam the Jew^” 



Now, tbis is a common but a most erroneous way of 
arguing. In a case of tbis kind, tbe bird was not supposed 
to bave any conscious acquaintance with futurity, either 
for bis own benefit or that of others. But even where 
such, a consciousness may be supposed, as in the case of 
oneiromancy, or prophecy by means of dreams, it must be 
supposed limited, and the more limited in a personal sense, 
as it is illimitable in a sublimer or spiritual sense. Who 
imagines that, because an Ezekiel foresaw the grand 
revolutions of the earth, therefore he must or could have 
foreseen the little details of his own ordinary life? And 
even descending from that perfect inspiration to the more 
doubtful power of augury amongst the Pagans (concern- 
ing which the most eminent of theologians have held very 
opposite theories), one thing is certain, that, so long as 
we entertain such pretensions, or discuss them at all, we 
must take them with the principles of those who pro- 
fessed such arts, not with principles of our own arbitrary 

One example will make this clear; — There are in Eng- 
land * a class of men who practise the Fagan rhabdomancy 
in a limited sense. They carry a rod or rhabdos (iafidog) 
of willow: this they hold horizontally; and by the bend- 
ing of the rod towards the ground they discover the fa- 
vourable places for sinking wells; a matter of considerable 

♦ ** There are in England :”—Espeoiallj in Somersetshire,, and for 
twenty miles round Wrington, the birthplace of Locke. Nobody sinks 
for wells without their advice. I myself knew an amiable l^ttish 
family, who, at an estate 'called Belmaduthie, in memory of a similar 
property in Ross-shire, built a house in Somersetshire, and resolved to 
find water withoat help from the jowser. But, after sinking to a greater 
depth than ever had been known before, and spending a iaige sum of 
vaouejy were finally obliged to eonsnlt the jowser, who found water 



importance in a province so ill-watered as the northern 
district of Somersetshire. These people are locally called 
jowsers; and it is probable that, from the suspicion with 
which their art has been usually regarded amongst people 
of education as the mere legerdemain trick of 4he profes- 
sional Dousierswivel (see the ".Antiquary ”) is derived the 
slang word to chouse for swindle. Meantime, the experi- 
mental evidences of a real practical skill in these men, and 
the enlarged compass of speculation in these days, have 
led many enlightened people to a stoic or suspen- 

sion of judgment, on the reality of this somewhat myste- 
rious art. 

Kow, in the East, there are men who make the^same 
pretensions in a more showy branch of the art. It is 
not water, but treasures, which they profess to find by 
some hidden kind of rhabdomaney. The very existence 
of treasures with us is reasonably considered a thing of 
improbable occurrence. But in the unsettled East, and 
with the low valuation of human life wherever Mahomet- 
anism prevails, insecurity and other causes must have 
caused millions of such deposits in every century to have 
perished as to any knowledge of survivors. The sword 
has been moving backwards and forwards, for instance, 
like a Weaver’s shuttle, since the time of Mahmoud the 
Qhaznevide,* in Anno Domini 1000 — t. e., for eight hun- 
dred years — ^throughout the vast regions bounded by the 
Tigris, the Oxus, and the Indus. Begularly as it ap- 
proached, gold and jewels must have sunk by whole har- 
vests into the ground. A certain p^r-centage has been no 

* Mahmoud of Ghizni, otherwise Ghuznee, which was bo recently taken 
in one hour by our Indian army under Lord Keane. This Affghan 
leader was the first Mahometan inyader of Hindostan— m., about tbt 
year 1000 of our Christian era. 

c/baS^ recovered; but & krger per-C6ntage b&s disappeared 

for ever. Hence naturally the jealousy of barbarous Ori- 
entals that we Europeans, in groping amongst pyramids, 
sphinxes, and tombs, are looking for buried treasures. The 
wretches are not so wide astray in what they believe, as 
in what they disbelieve. The treasures do really exist 
which they fancy; but then also the other treasures in the 
glorious antiquities have that existence for our sense of 
beauty which to their brutality is inconceivable. In these 
circumstances, why should it surprise us that men will 
pursue the science of discovery as a regular trade? Many 
discoveries of treasure are doubtless made continually, 
which, for obvious reasons, are communicated to nobody. 
Some proportions there must be between the sowing of 
such grain as diamonds or emeralds, and the subsequent 
reaping, whether by accident or by art. For, ’with regard 
to the last, it is no more impossible, pnVid fron% that a 
substance may exist having an occult sympathy with sub- 
terraneous water or subterraneous gold, than that the mag- 
net should have a sympathy (as yet occult) with the^nor- 
thern pole of our planet. 

The first flash of careless thought applied to such a case 
will suggest, that men holding powers of this nature need 
not offer their services for hire to others. And this, in 
fact, is the objection universally urged by us Europeans 
as decisive against their pretensions. Their knavery, it i? 
fancied, stands self- recorded; since assuredly they would 
not be willing to divide their subterranean treasures, if 
they knew of any. .^ong the fi agments still surviving 
of the Eoman poet Ennius, is an e.agant series of verses.* 
in which he expresses this opinion with a fierce tone of 
mockery for the vulgar disposition to countenance preten- 
sions that seem self- exposed as so manifestly fraudulent. 


‘ 325 ' 

But the men are not in such self-contradiction as might 
seem. Lady Hester Stanhope, from the ampler knowledge 
which she had acquired of oriental opinions, set Dr Mad- 
den right on this point. The oriental belief is, that a fa- 
tality attends the appropriator of a treasure in any case 
where he happens also to be the discoverer. Such a per- 
son, it is held, will die soon and suddenly; so that he is 
compelled to s6ek his remuneration from the wages or fees 
of his employers, not from the treasure itself. 

Generally, I may remark, that the same practices of sub- 
terranean deposits, during our troubled periods in Europe, 
led to the same superstitions. And it may be added, that 
the same error has arisen in both cases as to some of these 
geuperstitions. How often must it have struck people of 
liberal feelings, as a scandalous proof of the preposterous 
value set upon riches by poor men, that ghosts should 
popularly be supposed to rise Rnd wander for the sake of 
revealing the situations of buried treasures. For my own 
part, I have been accustomed to view this popular belief 
as an argument for pity rather than for contempt towards 
poor men, as indicating the extreme pressure of that ne- 
cessity which could so far have demoralised their natural 
sense of truth and moral proportions. But certainly, in 
whatever feelings originating, and howsoever excusable in 
poor men, such popular superstitions as to the motives of 
ghostly missions did seem to argue a deplorable miscon- 
ception of the relation subsisting between the spiritual 
world and the perishable treasures of this perishable 
world. Yet, when we look into tho eastern explanations < 
0 ? this case, we find it subject to a very difierent reading, 
and that it is meant to express, not any over-valuation of 
riches, but the direct contrary passion. A human spirit 
is punished — such is the notion — in the spiritual world for 


' 326 

excessive attacliment to gold, by degradation to the office 
of its guardian; and from this office the tortured spirit can 
release itself only by revealing the treasure and transfer* 
ring the custody. It is a penal martyrdom, not an elec* 
tive passion for gold, which is thus exemplified in the wan- 
derings of a treasure-ghost. 

But, in a field where of necessity I am so much limited, 
I willingly pass from the consideration of* these treasure 
or khasne phantoms (which alone sufficiently insure a swarm 
of 'ghostly terrors for all oriental ruins of cities) to the 
same marvellous apparitions, as they haunt other solitudes 
even more awful than those of ruined cities# In this world 
there are two mighty forms of perfect solitude — the ocean 
and the desert: the wilderness of the barren sands, andii 
the wilderness of the barren waters. Both are the parents 
of inevitable superstitions — of terrors, solemn, ineradicable, 
eternal. Sailors and the children of the desert are alike 
overrun with spiritual hauntings, from accidents of peril 
essentially connected with those modes of life, and from 
the eternal spectacle of the infinite. Voices seem to blend 
with the raving of the sea, which will for ever impress 
the feeling of beings more than human; and every chamber 
of the great wilderness which, with little interruption, 
stiretches from the Euphrates to the western shores of 
Africa, has its own peculiar terrors both as to sights and 
sounds. In the wilderness of Zin, between Palestine and 
the Bed Sea, a section of the desert well known in these 
days to our own countrymen, bells are heard daily pealing 
for matins or for vespers, from some phantom convent 
that no search of Christian or of Bedouin Arab has evpr 
been able to discover. These bells have sounded since 
the Crusades. Other sounds, trumpets, the Alala of 
armies, &c., aTe heard in. other Regions of the desert. 



Forms, also, are seen of more people tban have any right 
to be walking in human paths: sometimes forms of avowed 
terror; sometimes, which is a case of far more danger, 
appearances that mimic the shapes of men, and even of 
friends or comrades. This is a case much dwelt on by 
the old travellers, and which throws a gloom over the 
spirits of all Bedouins, and of every cafila or caravan. 
We all know what a sensation of loneliness or "eeriness” 
(to use an expressive term of the ballad poetry) arises to 
any small party assembling in a single room of a vast 
desolate mansion: how the timid among them fancy con- 
tinually that they hear some remote door opening, or 
trace the sound of suppressed footsteps from some distant 
staircase. Such is the feeling in the desert, even in the 
midst of the caravan. The mighty solitude is seen: the 
dread silence is anticipated which will succeed to this 
brief transit of men, camels, and horses. Awe prevails 
even in the midst of society: but, if the travelled should 
loiter behind from fatigue, or be so imprudent as to 
ramble aside — should he from any cause once lose sight 
of his party, it is held that his chance is small of recover- 
ing their traces. And why? Xot chiefly from the want 
of footmarks, where the wind effaces all impressions in 
half-an-hour, or of eyemarks, where all is one blank ocean 
of sand, but much more froin the sounds or the visual 
appearances which are supposed to beset and to seduce all 
insulated wanderers. 

Everybody knows the superstitions of the ancients about 
the Nympholeptoiy those who had seed Pan and the nymphs. 
But far more awful are the existing superstitions, through- 
out, Asia and Africa, as to the perils of those who are 
phantom-haunted in the wilderness. The old Venetian 
traveller, Marco Polo, states them well: he speaks, in- 


deed, of the Eastern or Tartar deserts; the steppes 
which stretch from European Russia to the footsteps of 
the Chinese throne; but exactly the same creed prevails 
amongst the Arabs, from Bagdad to Suez and Cairo— from 
Rosetta to* Tunis — Tunis to Timbuctoo or Mcquioez. “If, 
during the daytime,” says he, “ any person should remain 
behind, until the caravan is no longer in sight, he hears 
himself unexpectedly called to by name, and in a voice 
with which he is. familiar. Not doubting that the voice 
proceeds from some of his comrades, the unhappy man is 
beguiled from the right direction; and soon finding him- 
self utterly confounded as to the path, he roams about in 
distraction, until he parishes miserably. If, on the other 
hand, this perilous separation of himself from the caravan 
should happen at night, he is sure to hear the uproar of ^ 
great cavalcade a mile pr two to the right or left of the true 
track. He is thus seduced on one side: and at break of 
day finds himself far removed from man. Nay, even at 
noonday, it is well knowm that grave and respectable men, 
to all appearance, will come up to a particular traveller, 
will bear the look of a friend, and will gradually lure him 
by earnest conversation to a distance from the caravan; 
after which the sounds of men and camels will be heard 
continually at all points, but the true one; whilst an insen- 
sible turning by the tenth of an inch at each separate step 
from the true direction will very soon suffice to set the 
traveller’s face to the opposite point of the compass from 
that which his safety requires, and which his fancy repre- 
sents to him as his real direction. Marvellous, indeed, 
and almost passing belief, are the stories reported of these 
desert phantoms, which are said at tiiAes to fill the air 
with |bpal music from all kinds of instruments,' from 
drufillPImd the clash of arms: so ttiat oftentimes a ivhole 


caravan are obliged to close up their open ranks, and to 
proceed in a compact line of march.” 

Lord Lindsay, in his very interesting Travels through 
Egypt, Edom, &c., agrees with Warton in supposing (and 
probal)ly enough) that from this account of the desert 
traditions in Marco Polo was derived Milton’s fine passagg 
in "Comus:” — 

calling shapes, and beckoning shadows diro. 

And aery tongues that syllable men’s names 
On sands, and shores, and doscifc wildernesses." 

But the most remarkable of these desert superstitions, 
as suggested by the^ention of Lord Lindsay, is one which 
that young nobleman, in some place which I cannot im- 
mediately find, has noticed, and which he was destined 
by a personal calamity immediately to illustrate. Lord 
Lindsay quotes from Vincent le Blanc an anecdote of a 
man in his own caravan, the companion of an Arab mer- 
chant, who disappeared in a mysterious manner. Four 
Moors, with a retaining fee of 100 ducats, were sent in 
quest of him, but came back re infectd, “ And ’tis uncer- 
tain,” adds Le Blanc, " whether he was swallowed up in 
the sands, or met his death by any other misfortune; as 
it often happens, by the relation of a merchant then in our 
company, who told us that, two years before, traversing 
the same journey, a comrade of his, going a little aside 
from the company, saw three men, who called him by 
his name; and one of them, to his thinking, favoured very 
much his companion; and, as he was about to follow 
them, his real companion calling him to come back to his 
company, he found hrmself deceived by the others, and 
thus was saved. And all travellers in these parts hold, 
that in the desert are many such phantasms seen, that 
strive to seduce thj traveller.” Thus far it is the travel^ 



ler’s own faulty warned as he is continually by the OEtromc 
anxiety of the Arab leaders or guides, with respect to all 
who stray to any distance, if he is duped or enticed by 
these pseudo-men: though, in the case of Lapland dogs, 
who ought to have a surer instinct of detection for coun- 
terfeits, we know from Sir Capel de Broke and others, 
that they are continually wiled away by the wolves who 
roam about the nightly encampments of travellers. But 
there is a secondary disaster, according to the Arab super- 
stition, awaiting those whose eyes are once opened to the 
discernment of these phantoms. To see them, or to hear 
them, even where the traveller is careful to refuse their 
lures, entails the certainty of death in no long time. This 
is another form of that universal faith which made it im- 
possible for any man to survive a bodily commerce, by 
whatever sense, with a spiritual being. We find it in the 
Old Testament, where the expression, “ I have seen God, 
and shall die,” means simply a supernatural being; since 
no Hebrew believed it possible for a nature purely human 
to sustain for a moment the sight of the Infinite Being. 
We find the same faith amongst ourselves, in the case of 
doppelgCmger becoming apparent to the sight of those whom 
they counterfeit, and in many other varieties. We modern 
Europeans, of course, laugh at these superstitions; though, 
as La Place remarks Essai sur les Frobabilites”), any 
case, however apparently incredible, if it is a recurrent 
case, is as much entitled to a fair valuation as if it had 
been more probable beforehand.* This being premised, 

*** Is as much to a fair valu<tti(Mf •mder the lam of indue- 

*tion, atf-Jf it had been mm'e probaUe htforehandV* — One of the cases 
Place notices as entitled to a grave consideration, but which 
Wj^^lraost assuredly be treated as a trivial phenomenon, unwoi*thy of 
Mpiition, by commonplace spectators, is, when a run of success, with no 
0p&rent cause, tikes place on heads or tailsYP^^^ croix). Most 



we, who connect the euperstition with the personal result, ^ 
are more* impressed by the fatal catastrophe to Mr Barn- 
say than Lord Lindsay, who either failed to notice the 
nexus between the events, or possibly declined to put the 
case too forward in his reader’s eye, from the solemnity of 
the circumstances, and the private interest to himself adtt 
his own family of the subsequent event. The case was 
tliis: — ^Mr William Wardlaw Hamsay, the companion (and 
I believe relative) of Lord Lindsay, a man whose honour- 
able character and whose intellectual accomplishments 
speak for themselves, in the posthumous memorabilia of 
his travels published by Lord Lindsay, had seen an array 
of objects in the desert, which, by facts immediately suc- 
ceeding, was demonstrated to have been a mere, ocular 
lusus, or (according to Arab notions) phantoms. During 
the absence from home of an Arab sheikh, who had been 
hired as conductor of Lord Lindsay’s party, a hostile tribe 
(bearing the name of Tellaheens) had assaulted and pil- 
laged his tents. Eeport of this had reached the English 
travelling-party; it was known that the Tellaheens were 
still in motion, and for some days a hostile rencounter 
^vas looked for. At length, in crossing the well-known 
valley of the Wady Araba, that most ancient channel of 
communication between the Bed Sea and Judea, drc., Mr 
Bamsay saw, to his own entire conviction, a party of 
horse moving amongst some sand-hills. Afterwards it 
became certain, from accurate information, that this must 
have been an ocular illusion. It was established that no 

people dismiss such a case as pure accident. But La Place iosisM on 
its being duly valued as a fact, however unaccountable as an effect. So 
again, if, in a large majority of experiences like those df Lord Lindsay’s 
party in the desert, death should follow, such a phenomenon is as well 
entitled to Its separate valuation as any ether. 



« horseman could have been in that neighbourhood at that 
time. Lord Lindsay records the case as an illustration of 

that spiritualised tone the imagination naturally assumes, 
in scenes presenting so little sympathy with the ordinary 
feelings of humanity;” and he reports the case in these 
|l^inted terms: — “ Mr Bamsay, a man of remarkably strong 
sight, and by no means disposed to superstitious credulity, 
distinctly saw a party of horse moving among the sand- 
hills; and I do not believe he was ever able to divest him- 
self pf that impression.” No — and, according to Arab in- 
terpretation, very naturally so; for, according to their 
faith, he really had seen the horsemen; phantom horsemen 
certainly, but still objects of sight. The sequel remains 
to bo told. By the Arabian hypothesis, Mr Eamsay had 
but a short time to live — ^he was under a secret summons 
to the next world ; and accordingly, in a few weeks after 
this, whilst Lord Lindsay had gone to visit Palmyra, Mr 
Bamsay died at Damascus. 

This was a case exactly corresponding to the Pagan 
nympholepsis — he had seen the beings whom it is not law- 
ful to see and Kve. Another case of eastern superstition, 
not less determined, and not less remarkably fulfilled, 
occurred some years before to Dr Madden, who travelled 
pretty much in the same route as Lord Lindsay. The 
doctor, as a phrenologist, had been struck with the very 
singular conformation of a skull which he saw amongst 
many others on an altar in some Syrian convent. He 
offered a considerable sum in gold for it; but it was by 
repute the skull of a saint; and the monk with whom Dr 
Madden attempted to negotiate, n^t only refused his offers, 
MHH^rotqsted that even for the doctor's sake, apart from the 
interests of the convent, he could not venture on such a 
transfer: that, by the tradition attached to it, the skull 


333 . 

would endanger any yessel carrying it from the Syrian 
shore; the vessel might escape; but it would never suc- 
ceed in reaching any but a Syrian harbour. After this, 
for the credit of our country, which stands so high in the 
East, and should be so punctiliously tended by all Eng- 
lishmen, I am sorry to record that Dr. Madden (though 
otherwise a man of scrupulous honour) yielded to the 
temptation of substituting for the saint’s skull another less 
remarkable from his own collection. With this saintly 
relic he embarked on board a Qreciai\ ship; was alternately 
pursued and met by storms the most .violent; larboard and 
starboard, on every quarter, he was buffeted; the wind 
blew from every point of the compass; the doctor honestly 
confesses that he often wished this baleful skull back in 
safety on the quiet altar from which he took it; and 
finally, after many days of anxiety, he was too happy in 
finding himself quietly restored to some oriental port, from 
which he secretly vowed never again to sail with a saint’s 
skull, or with any skull, however remarkable phrcnolo- 
gically, that had not been paid for in an open market. 

Thus I have pursued, through many of its most memo- 
rable sections, the spirit of the miraculous as it moulded 
and gathered itself in the superstitions of Paganism; and I 
have shown that, in the modern superstitions of Christi- 
anity, or of Mahometanism (often enough borrowed from 
Christian sources), there is a pretty regular correspond- 
ence. Speaking with a reference to the strictly popular 
belief, it cannot^be pretended for a moment that mira- 
culous agencies are slumbering in modern ages. For one 
superstition of that nature which tlie Pagans had, we can 
produce twenty. And if, from the collation of numbers, 
we should pass to that of quality, it is a matter of noto- 
riety, that from the very philosophy of Pagahism, and its 



slight root in the terrors or profounder m3r8teries of 
spiritual nature, no comparison could be sustained for a 
moment between the true religion and any mode what- 
ever of the false. Ghosts I have purposely omitted, 
because that idea is so peculiarly Christian * as to reject 
all counterparts or affinities from other modes of the 
supernatural. The Christian ghost is too awful a pre- 
sence, and with too large a substratum of the real, the 
impassioned, the human, for my present purposes. I 
deal chiefly with the wilder and more aerial forms oi 
superstition; not so* far off from fleshly nature as the 
purely allegoric — -hot so near as the penal, the purgatorial, 
the penitential. In this middle class, Gabriel’s hounds ” 
—the “ phantom ship ” — the gloomy legends of the char- 
coal-burners in the German forests— and the local or 
epichorial superstitions from every district of Europe, 
come forward by thousands, attesting the high activity of 
the miraculous and the hyperphysical instincts, even in 
this generation, wheresoever the voice of the people makes 
itself heard. 

But in Pagan times, it will be objected, the popular 
superstitions blended themselves with the highest political 
functions, gave a sanction to national counsels, and often- 
times gave their starting-point to the very priroary move- 
ments of tlie state. Prophecies, omens, miracles, all worked 
concurrently with senates or princes. Whereas, in modern 
days, says Charles Lamb, the witch, who takes her pleasure 
with the moon, and summons Beelzebub to her sabbaths, 

* ** Because that idea is so peculiaHy Chn-sitm :” — One reason, addi- 
tional to the main one, why the idea of a ghost eonld not be conceived or 
reproduced by Paganism, lies in the Pagan four^pld resolution of the 
human nature at death— viz., into— 1. corpus; 2. mcmes; 8. cpvntus; 4 
emima* Alter such a dispersion of its separate elements, no restitutior 

of the total nature or consciousness was possible. 


33 & 

nevertheless trembles before'the beadle, and bides herself 
from the constable. Now, as to the witch, even the 
horrid Canidia of Horace, or the more dreadful Erichtho 
of Lucan, seems hardly to have been much respected in 
any era. But for the other modes of the supernatural, 
they have entered into more frequent combinations with 
state functions and state movements in our modern ages 
than in the classical age of Paganism. Look at prophe- 
cies, for example: the Homans had a few obscure oracles 
afloat, and they had the Sibylline books under the state 
seal. These books, in fact, had been kept so long, that, 
like port wine superannuated, they had lost their flavour 
and body.* On the other hand, look at France. Henry 
the historian, speaking of the fifteenth century, describes 
it as a national infirmity of the English to be prophecy - 
ridden. Perhaps there never was any foundation for this 
as an exclusive remark; but assuredly not in the next 
century. There had been amongst us British, from the 
twelfth century, Thomas of Ercildoune in the north, and 
many monkish local prophets for every part of the island; 
but latterly England had no terrific prophet, unless, in- 
deed, Nixon of the Vale Royal in Cheshire, who uttered 

♦ ** Like port wine superannuated, the Sibylline hooks had lost their 
Havowr and body :"* — There is an allegoric description in verse, by a 
modern poet, pf an ice-house, in which Winter is described as a captive, 
&c. It is memorable on this account, that a brother poet mistook it 
(from not understanding the allegorical expressions), either sincerely or 
maliciously, for a description of the house-dog. Now this little anecdote 
seems to embody the poor Sibyl’s history— -from a stern icy sovereign, 
some grand abstraction pf frost with a i^etrific mace, she lapsed into an 
old toothless mastiff. She* continued to snA-e in her ancient kennel for « 
above a thousand yegrs. The last person who attempted to stir her up 
with a long pole, and to extract from her paralytic dreaming some growls 
or snarls against Christianity, was Aurelian, in a moment of publiopanic. 
But the thing was past all tampering. The poor cfeature could neither 
be kicked nor coaxed into vitality. 


his dark oracles sometimes with a merely Cestrian, some- 
times with a national reference. Whereas in France, 
throughout the sixteenth century, every principal event 
was foretold successively, with an accuracy that still 
shocks and confounds us. Francis I., who opens the 
century (and by many is held to open the book of modern 
history, as distinguished from the middle or feudal history), 
had the battle of Pavia foreshown to him, not by name, 
but in its results — by his own Spanish captivity — by the 
exchange for his own children upon a frontier river of 
Spain — finally, by his own disgraceful death, through an 
infamous disease conveyed to him under a deadly ciicuit 
of revenge. This king’s son, Henry II., read some years 
hefove the event a description of that tournament, on the 
marriage of the Scottish Queen with his eldest son, Francis 
IT,, which proved fatal to himself, through the awkward- 
ness of the Compte de Montgomery and his own obstinacy. 
After this, and, I believe, a little after the brief reign of 
Francis II., arose Nostradamus, the great prophet of the 
age. All the children of Ilemy II. and of Catherine de 
Medici, one after the other, died in circumstances of suffer- 
ing and horror; and Nostiadamus pursued the whole with 
allusive omens. Chailes IX., though the authoriser of the 
Bartholomew massacre, was the least guilty of his party, 
and the only one who manifested a dreadful lemorse, 
Henry III., the last of the brothers, died, as the reader 
will remember, by assassination. The youngest brother — 
viz., the Duke of Alen 9 on, the suitor of our Queen Eliza- 
beth, the same who, in his later days, after his brother 
Henry had become a king, tookthr tide gf Duke of Anjou 
—died in more abject misery even than the rest of his 
family. And %11 these tragic successions of events are 
I to be read, more or less dimly prefigured, in verses of 



whicb I will not here discuss the dates. Suffice it, that 
many authentic historians attest the good faith of the 
prophet; and finally, with respect to the first of the Bourbon 
dynasty, Henry IV., who succeeded upon the assassination 
of his brother-in-law, Henry III., we have the peremptory 
assurance of Sully and other Protestants, countersigned by 
writers*both historical and controversial, that not only was 
he prepared, by many warnings, for his own tragical death 
— not only was the day, the hour, prefixed — not only was 
an almanack sent to him, in which the bloody summer’s day 
of 1610 was pointed out to his attention in bloody colours; 
but the mere record of the king’s last afternoon shows, 
beyond a doubt, the extent and the punctual limitation of 
his anxieties within a circuit of six hours. In fact, it is 
to this attitude of listening expectation in the king, and 
breathless waiting for the blow, that Schiller alludes in 
that fine speech of Wallenstein to his sister, where he 
notices the funeral knells that sounded continually in 
Henry’s cars, and, above 4ill, his prophetic instinct, that 
caught from a far distance the sound of his murderer’s 
motions, and could distinguish, amidst all the tumult of a 
mighty capital, those stealthy steps 

Which even then "were seeking him 

Throughout the streets of Paris.’* 

I, for my part, profess not to admire Henry IV. of 
France, whose secret and real character is best learned 
from the confidential report made by Sir G. Carew to the 
Council or to the Foreign Secretary of Queen Elizabeth, 
during the two or three latter years of her reign. But one 
thing I have always very sincerely admired in him-^viz., 
his courageous resignation to the appointments of Heaven, 
ill dismissing his guards, as feeling that against a danger 
so domestic and so mysterious all fieshly arms were vain, 
p — III. 



This has always struck me as the most like magnanimity 
of anything in his very theatrical life.* 

Passing to our own country, and to the times imme- 
diately in succession, we fall ui)on some striking prophecies, 
not verbal but symbolic, if we turn from the broad high- 
way of public histories to the by-paths of private memo- 
rials. Either Clarendon it is, in his Life (not hi^ public 
history), or else Laud, who mentions an anecdote con- 
nected with the coronation of Charles I. (the son-in-law of 
the murdered Bourbon), which threw a gloom upon the 
spirits of the royal ftiends, already saddened by the dread- 
ful pestilence which inauguiated the reign of this ill-fated 
prince, levying a tribute of one life in sixteen from the 
population of the English metropolis. The anecdote is 
this: — At the coronation of Charles, it was discovered that 
all London could not furnish the quantity of purple velvet 
required for the royal robes and the furniture of the 
throne. What was to be done 1 Decorum required that 
the furniture should be all en suite. Nearer than Genoa 
no considerable addition could be expected. That would 
impose a delay of several week^. Upon mature considera- 
tion, and chiefly of the many private interests that would 
suffer amongst the multitudes whom such a solemnity had 
called up from the country, it was resolved to robe the 
king in white velvet. But this, as it afterwards occurred, 
was the colour in which victims were arrayed. And thus, 
it was alleged, did the king’s council establisli an augury 
of evil. Three other ill omens, of some celebrity, occurred 

* By the way, it seems quite impossible for the stem and unconditional 
BO^tio upon aJl modes of supernatural communication to reconcile his 
own opinions with the circumstantial report of Henry’s last hours, as 
gathered from Sully and others. That he was profoundly sensible of 
the that brooded over his person, is past all denying; now, whence 



to Charles I. — ^viz., on occasion of creating his son Charles 
a knight of the Bath; secondly, at Oxford, some years 
after; and thirdly, at the bar of that tribunal \^hich sat in 
judgment upon him. 

The reign of his second son, James II., the next reign 
that could be considered an unfortunate reign, was in- 
augurated by the same evil omens. The day selected for 
the coronation (in 1G85) was a day memorable for Eng- 
land — it was St George’s day, the 23d of April — and en- 
titled, even on a separate account, to be held a sacred day, 
as the birth-day of Shakspere in 1564, and his death-day in 
1616. The king saved a sum^f sixty thousand pounds 
by cutting off the ordinary cavalcade from the Tower of 
London to Westminster. Even this was imprudent. It 
is well known that, amongst the lowest class of the English, 
there is an obstinate prejudice (though unsanctioned by 
law) with respect to the obligation imposed by the cere- 
mony of coronation. So long as this ceremony is delayed, 
or mutilated, they fancy that their obedience is a matter 
of mere prudence, liable to be enforced by arms, but not 
consecrated either by law or by religion. The change 
made by James was, therefore, highly imprudent; shorn 
of its antique traditionary usages, the yoke of conscience 
was lightened at a moment when it required a double ra- 
tification. Neither was this mutilation of the ancient 
ceremonial called {pr on motives of economy, since James 
was unusually rich. This voluntary arrangement was,* 
therefore, a bad beginning; but the accidental omens were 
worse. They are thus reported by piennerhassett (“ His- 
tory of England to the end of George I.,” Vol. iv., p. 1760, 
printed at Newcastle-upon-Tyne: 1751. “The crown be- 
ing too little for the king’s head, was often in a totter- 
ing condition, and like to fall off.” Even this was ob- 



served attentively by spe.ctatorB of the most opposite feel- 
ings. But there was another simultaneous omen, which 
affected the Protestant enthusiasts^ and the superstition i. 
whether Catholic or Protestant, still more alarmingly. 
“ The same day the king’s arms, pompously painted in the 
great altar window of a London church, suddenly fell 
down without apparent cause, and broke to pieces, whilst 
the rest of the window remained standing.” Blenncr- 
liassett mutters the dark terrors which possessed himself 
and others. “ These,” says he, were reckoned ill omens 
to the king.” 

In France, as the dreadful criminality of the French 
sovereigns through the seventeenth century began to tell 
powerfully, and reproduce itself in the miseries and tu- 
mults of the French populace through the eighteenth cen- 
tury, it is interesting t6 note the omens which unfolded 
themselves at intervals. A volume might be written upon 
them. The Bourbons lenewed the picture of that fatal 
house which in Thebes offered to the Grecian observers 
the spectacle of successive auguries, emerging from dark- 
ness through three generations, a plusieurs reprises* Every- 
body knows the fatal pollution by calamity of the mar- 
riage pomps on the reception of Marie Antoinette in 
Paris; the numbers who perished are still spoken of ob- 
scurely as to the amount, and with shuddering awe for 
the unparalleled horrors standing injthe background of 
I this fatal reign. 

But in the Life of Goethe is mentioned a still more por- 
tentous (though morf shadowy) omen. In the pictorial de- 
corations of the arras which adorned the pavilion raised 
for the reception of the princess on the French frontier, 
the first objects. which met the Austrian archduchess, on 
being hailed as Dauphiness, was a succession of the most 


34 !• 

tragic groups from the most awful section of the Grecian 
theatre. The next alliance of the same kind between the 
same great empires, in the persons of Napoleon and the 
Archduchess Marie Louisa, was overshadowed by equally 
unhappy omens (viz., at the ball given in celebration of 
that marriage by the Austrian Ambassador), and, as we 
all remember, with the same unhappy results, within a 
brief period of five years. 

Or, if we should resort to the fixed and monumental, 
rather than to the fleeting auguries of great nations — such, 
for instance, as were embodied in those Palladia, or protect- 
ing talismans, which capital cities, whether Pagan or Chris- 
tian, glorified through a period of twenty-five hundred years 
— we shall find a long succession of these enchanted pledges, 
from the earliest precedent of Troy (whose palladium was 
undoubtedly a talisman), down to that equally memorable 
one, bearing the same name, at Western Rome, We may 
pass, by a vast transition of two and a-half millennia, to 
that great talisman’ of Constantinople, the triple serpent 
(having perhaps an original reference to the Mosaic serpent 
of the wilderness, which healed the infected by the simple 
act of looking upon it). This great consecrated talisman, 
venerated equally by Christian, by Pagan, and by Maho- 
metan, was struck on the head by Mahomet II., on that 
same day, May 29 of 1453, in which he mastered by 
storm this glorious city, the bulwark of Eastern Christen- 
dom, and the immediate rival of his own European throne 
at Adrianople. But mark the superfetation of omens — 
omen supervening upon omen, augury engrafted upon 
augury. The hour was a sad one for Christianity; just 
720 years before the western horn of Islam had been re- 
butted in France, not by Frenchmen, but chiefly by Ger- 
mans, under Charles Martel. But now it seemed as though 



another horn, even more vigorous, was preparing to 
assault Christendom from the eastern quarter. At this 
epoch, in the very hour of triumph, when the last of 
the Caesars had glorified his station, and sealed his tes- 
timony by martyrdom, the fanatical sultan, riding to 
his stirrups in blood, and wielding that iron mace 
which had been his sole weapon, as well as cognisance, 
through the battle, advanced to the column round which 
the triple serpent soared spirally upwards. He smote the 
brazen talisman; he shattered one head; he left it muti- 
lated as the record of his great revolution; but crush it, 
destroy it, he did not — as a symbol prefiguring the fortunes 
of Mahometanism: his people noticed that in the critical 
hour of fate, which stamped the sultan’s acts with efiicacy 
through ages, he had been prompted by his secret genius 
only to ** scotch the snake,” not to crush it. Afterwards 
the fatal hour was gone by; and this imperfect augury has 
since concurred traditionally with the Mahometan pro- 
phecies about the Adrianople gate of Constantinople, to 
depress the ultimate hopes of Islam in the midst of all its 
insolence. The very haughtiest of the Mussulmans believe 
that the gate is already in existence through which the 
red Giaours (the JRussi) shall pass to the conquest of Stam- 
boul; and that everywhere, in Europe at least, the hat of 
Frangistan is destined to surmount the turban — the cre- 
scent to go down before the cross.